FOMO – Fear of Missing Out

I read a BBC article entitled FOMOMG late last year. This apparently meant the “Fear Of Missing Out [on] My Goals” and the crux of the article is about young people bench-marking their current lives. The article focuses on expectations and the subsequent anxiety and other mental health issues that follow when expectations are not met. Some of these expectations are perhaps unrealistic or misguided, unfairly shaped and influenced by social media, peers and the education system.

This isn’t a blog post about an article. The article did however made me think about my own life and conversations with various friends. As my friends and I get ever closer to 40 (35), it is natural to do a bit of a stock take on things and it is hard not to compare where we are to how we thought life was going to be. 

Has life really worked out the way I thought it would? 

Of course not. Is this necessarily a bad thing? I don’t think so, but of course it is impossible to measure against something that is immeasurable.

Casting my mind back to 18-20 year old self, I believed that when I’d be getting close to 40 my life would be something similar to the below:-

  • Own a property(s)
  • Married with a couple of kid(s)
  • Earning over £100k a year. I was a trainee accountant at the time, so I expect I saw no reason why my future career would have been in a different field.
  • A wide circle of friends

I rent. I am single, with no children. I cringe when I thought I’d be earning in excess of £100k a year. I enjoy my job working in the Housing sector and earn what I feel is a decent wage. I do have very close groups of friends, including friends I have known from a very young age.

One out of four doesn’t seem like a great return.

However I have achieved a lot I didn’t really give much thought to at 18. I have travelled to many places and wouldn’t swap the experiences and people I have met for the the world. The job sector I work in is far more enjoyable that my job at the time.  Personally this is more important than whatever salary I may or may not have been earning had I continued in my job at the time. I accept I have taken a different path to what most people do and I do not intend to go into any real detail in this blog post at least.

But I am happy and that is the most important thing.

What made my 18 year old self aspire to his life goals? I grew up in a time before social media, so it was likely a combination of media, social norms and I do believe my teachers at school. But life is never that simple and there shouldn’t be one lifestyle that is considered to be more ‘normal’ than others. Unfortunately there still is and I think social media is just reinforcing this, making life that little bit harder for young people growing up today.

Originally published on 17 December 2018

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