Fear of FOMO

Standard

I think I have the dreaded disease FOMO.

Do you have FOMO too?

FOMO is the Fear of Missing Out. I think it’s a marketing term like BOGO, you know, Buy One, Get One. But, while everyone wants to BOGO, no one wants to FOMO.

I think FOMO originated as a term when we got so many choices through social media that people began bouncing like ping pong balls between social engagements, never staying at any one party because something cool might be happening at the next one.

FOMO is the opposite of living a juicy life because you’re never really enjoying the life you have – you’re always acquiring more.

What FOMO is not is a bucket list. It’s not all the things you want to do before you die. It’s all the things you want to do right now.

I started my career as a journalist and I was really careful about staying objective. And then, I moved over to public relations, but I was still careful. The words I wrote might be close to what I felt, but they were never my words. In both jobs, my creativity was harnessed in service of someone else’s vision.

So when I threw all that aside and moved to Charleston, I decided to dive into the creative well and just let it splash all over me. So much to do.

My mom died fairly young – she was 72, and that seems young to me. Did she have that sense of so much to do, so little time left? Because I hear that drumbeat beneath everything I do.

I don’t want to do anything later. I want to do it all now.

The kind of FOMO that people talk about that comes with the distraction of social media prevents you from being truly present, because you’re always looking ahead to the next.

I feel like what I have is not FOMO – I’m not scared of missing out. It’s more BIO. Bring it on! Or maybe BOTJ….Bring on the juicy!

Smiling Headshot Blue Blouse

LISTEN TO THE COMPANION PODCAST

Find out more about the Keep it Juicy! podcast!

Advertisements

Dancing with Daddy

Standard

When my parents danced, their marriage played out on the dance floor. The two moved together in rhythm, my mother throwing flirtatious little grins over her shoulder as dad spun her, my tall father’s body like a comma so he could lean close and whisper in my petite mother’s ear.

The two anticipated each other’s moves and the dance floor would empty around them as other dancers’ energy flagged. My mom and dad danced every dance at every wedding and every Mardi Gras ball and every party.

Like many girls, I learned to dance atop my father’s feet. Jitterbugs and waltzes and crazy turns and dips.

When it was time for my first school dance, my mother watched from the sofa while my father and I turned methodically around the living room, all of us laughing at my mis-steps.

“Just watch my eyes and not your feet,” my dad would say. But gazing into his eyes was an intimacy for my mother and nothing I could sustain without breaking into nervous giggles.

Later in life, I took dance lessons. Salsa and ballroom. Country western line dancing. I could cha-cha and boogie on cue. I couldn’t wait for the next family wedding so I could take my dad to the dance floor and finally keep up.

And, finally, a cousin married. That night, after many dances with my mother, my dad held his hand out to me while my mother, fanning herself, went off to get a cool drink.

I faced my dad, right hand loosely clasped in his, left hand perched on his shoulder. The music started. And I stepped on his feet. And then he stepped on mine.

“Sorry,” he said with a wince.

And, the secret was out. My dad didn’t know dance steps! My one-two-three-cross was at cross-purposes with the dance he was trying to lead.

“I just dance,” he said, shrugging.

We stumbled through the rest of the song and then, with relief, my dad reclaimed my mother.

It would take years – years of watching my parents swoop along the dance floor – before I realized that dancing isn’t about the steps. It’s about improvisation. And feeling rhythm. And trusting someone enough to follow, even when you’re not sure where the heck they’re leading.

Dad’s been gone for two years now and I’m still dancing. I’ve gotten pretty good at leading, but I’m still a novice at that following stuff. On and off the dance floor.

Joe & Pauline Mitternight
50th Anniversary Party
New Orleans 09