Okay, let’s be honest. How many of you are sitting here reading this while in the back of your mind you’re wondering, “Hmm, I wonder if anyone posted anything on social media.”
Yes, I see all of you fighting the urge to stop yourselves from raising your hands. That’s okay; it won’t hurt my feelings. I’m thinking the same thing as I am sitting here writing this piece.
They call it the “Fear of Missing Out” or “FOMO”. I, myself, suffer from it. The inability to actually be present in the moment, focusing on the here, now, and right in front of you. And, let me tell you, the important moments in our lives are simply passing us by and we don’t even realize it.
I check my social media accounts, e-mail, and my phone for any texts, oh, say, 15 times a day (ouch, that looks awful.) I’m not sure if that’s really the number, it could be less, or more, but it is an utterly ridiculous amount of times. And if I have actually posted something, the number of times I check for comments on my posts skyrockets. So then it’s more like 1200 times a day. Yes, I think social media is an amazing way to get in touch and stay in touch, to reconnect and build connections, to establish incredible friendships, even to speak to celebrities that you may never have the opportunity to interact with otherwise. I am grateful to have such an avenue (probably not as grateful as those receiving the cha-ching from creating it, but whatever) to do so. I love having the ability to share things about my life and hear what others have to say. I love being able to publicly applaud someone, so that all of my friends and their friends alike can see the kudos and add their congratulations, ‘Way to Go’s, and ‘Atta boy’s.
What I detest is how absolutely addicted I have become to this social media thing.
Each of us knows that we all post super-fab pictures of ourselves and our amazingly well-behaved children enjoying ourselves on these exotic vacations that our uber-handsome husbands always gift us with on a regular basis because we are the best wives and mothers in the whole entire world. What we fail to mention is that these “vacations” were researched and set-up totally by us, that they don’t happen very often at all (even if we beg), and that we took that particular photograph 50,000 times just trying to get everyone to look at the camera at the same time, smile, and act like they are having the absolute best time (because of course they are, it’s only taking us forever trying to get this right) before we finally get one we feel can “accurately” represent us on social media. That’s the real reality, not the pic we posted. And, guess what, we all do it, so we all know it’s true. Stop lying.
And the Fear of Missing Out. What the heck am I afraid I am going to miss out on? That Susie Jo-Jo bought a cool new dress? That Lucy La-La checked in at the movies? That Missy Marvelous loves her family soooo much? Oh, that’s right, I am missing out on the horrible pit I get in my stomach when someone posts that they are going here, or there, or doing this, or that, and here I am checking my social media account.
Not to mention the fact that I will actually go out and actually do something and while I am actually out doing something, I pick up my phone to check and/or post on social media so that everyone knows I actually went out and did something.
“Hold on one second,” I tell my kids, “I have to go online for a minute.” That is seriously so sad, and right now I have tears in my eyes, because my life, the one I love that involves these two amazing beings whom I have been blessed to mother, is going on right in front of me, and I am freaking missing it. I should be obsessed with these babies I have, their interests, giving them my undivided attention. No e-mail, no texts, no internet. Just the family that I am fortunate enough to have right here in front of me. And I know this, yet I fail to act on it.
I know it is most definitely not social media’s fault, or e-mail’s fault, or texting’s fault. It is my fault that I am behaving this way, that I have allowed myself to get sucked into and stay right here in this black hole. And I know you are still reading this because you can relate and that you want to change, too.
This is the real Fear of Missing Out: I am missing out on what’s really and truly important in actual, for-real life. The moments in my life that I can’t get back. The smiles, the hugs, the laughs, the lights-in-their eyes that go by so quickly. I am missing the opportunities to say “I love you” and “You look so beautiful today.” I’m missing out on resting in the peace that could totally envelope me when they put their arms around me and squeeze me so tight, or lay their heads on my shoulder, or share an inside joke with me. Don’t get me wrong, I am very present in their lives every single day and I give them both an enormous amount of love, but I wish to give them so, so, so much more. They deserve that. And so do I.