Fear of missing …what?

“It’s hard not to develop this 21st-century form of anxiety when one glance at your smartphone reveals a thousand awesome things your friends — and enemies — are doing.” — Martha Beck, “The Grass Ain’t Greener”

circusIts no secret that Ive carried on a love-hate relationship with social media for years.

Using LinkedIn as one example: I love how it connects us with colleagues and expands our career-networking potential. Using Facebook as another example: I hate how it tempts us to overplay our achievements or flaunt things that ought to be kept personal.

So far, Ive been Facebook-free for more than six weeks. The last time I suffered social-media overload, I deactivated my Facebook account for more than three months. In so doing, I discovered I’d suddenly acquired yards of extra free time — simply because I wasnt reading status updates on what dozens of “friends” had eaten for lunch, bagged at the grocery store, or watched on television the previous night.

At the same time, I’ll admit it feels weird (sometimes) to avoid being part of something that everyone else is doing en masse. Even my husband makes passing references – daily – to material hes read on Facebook.

It’s enough to stir up an infectious case of FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. Life coach Martha Beck explores the perils of FOMO in her current O Magazine column (June 2013). As Beck explains it, FOMO manages to convince you that everyone else has more fun, more sex, cooler friends, better meals, bigger jobs, smarter kids, and fancier vacations than you have — and is so much younger- or better-looking than you’d ever be. Of course, FOMO rides high and fast on the wheels of social media, in all forms.

“A powerful way to fight FOMO is to recognize that the fabulous life you think youre missing doesnt in fact exist,” writes Beck. “When you feel FOMO coming on, remind yourself that practically every image you see on practically any screen is likely misleading.”  To find out why, you absolutely must read the rest of Becks spot-on article. I promise, you’ll nod your head at every paragraph.

In the meantime, Im following Becks advice and living fully in the ordinary moment – without posting photos of what I ate for breakfast. Seriously, you haven’t missed much.