Thursday, July 12, 2018

JOMO: The joy of missing out (and a case in point...!)

You know something is a "thing" when not just one but two articles about it land in your blog reader on the same morning:

Most us by now have heard of "FOMO" -- Fear of Missing Out. Apparently it's especially prevalent among people who are attached to their smartphones. ;) defines it as "anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website."

"FOMO" has now given way to "JOMO" -- the Joy of Missing Out. Essentially, it's the opposite of FOMO.  Says the Urban Dictionary:  "You’re enjoying what you’re doing in the here and now and not on social media broadcasting or seeing what everybody else is doing." The NYT article (above) says, "JOMO is about disconnecting, opting out and being O.K. just where you are."

Sometimes, those of us who don't have the children we wanted watch our siblings, friends and relatives with envy, as they bustle around, busy with their growing families.  We find ourselves mourning everything we are missing out on (or think we are missing out on): smiles, hugs and sloppy kisses from little ones; shopping for adorable tiny clothes; first steps and first words; introducing kids to the things we loved as children;  graduations, weddings, grandchildren... the list is endless, and exhausting.

It's sometimes easy to forget there are lots of other things we've missed out on that wouldn't necessarily be delightful to deal with: diaper rash, colic, teething, tantrums, finding (and paying for!) quality daycare (and, later, college!); teenaged angst, drugs & alcohol abuse...

Case in point:  this morning -- the same morning those articles on JOMO appeared in my blog reader -- dh & I decided to head to a large outlet mall near where we live. Unbeknown to us, the Build-A-Bear store there had a promotion on: "Pay Your Age" to build one of their customized stuffed animals. I didn't know about it until I ran into dh as I left a store early in our visit (he walks laps around the mall while I shop. "Wait till you see this!" he told me.

The mall is designed as an oval/rectangle -- and the lineup stretched almost 1/4 of the way around it.  I heard one woman mention an estimated waiting time of FOUR HOURS (dh heard SEVEN). And of course, kids, parents & strollers were everywhere else in the mall too (this being July = no school/prime vacation time). It was an unbelievable sight, and of course, the noise was semi-deafening. (I didn't realize this was a global event until I got home and started seeing some news stories and social media posts from other cities about's one from a Canadian network, and here's one from the BBC.)  Had we known this was going on, there is just no way we would have gone to the mall today. As it was, let's just say it was a much shorter visit than usual!!

(Not that I wanted to join the lineup...! -- but I kept thinking how discriminatory this was against adults, and particularly those of us without kids:  What if *I* wanted to build a bear for myself?  (This may sound ridiculous -- it's for kids, right?? I've never been to the store myself -- but I remember a couple of bereaved parents from our support group who went & built themselves angel bears after the loss of their babies. They were adorable. Expensive, but adorable.)  Would I be charged $57, vs $2 for the toddler at the table next to me building the same thing??)(According to this article, the fee for adults was capped at $29.)

Yes, there are things we're missing out on... but as today showed, missing out is not always a bad thing. ;)

A couple of other articles about JOMO that I found:

Scene from the mall earlier today...!  


  1. Another JOMO article from yesterday that I missed out on, in The Globe & Mail:


    "By taking a stand against my unlived life and some of the things that remind me of it, I can now focus on the life that I have, which despite not being perfect, is actually pretty great. I had been missing out on a lot of things this whole time, it turns out – just not the things I thought."

  2. I have to go read these JOMO articles now, but I LOVE this term. I saw all that Build-a-Bear hoopla through social media (I avoid the mall like the plague, I probably go twice per year because it is an inner circle of hell), and I just cackled. Some people I knew waited NINE hours for a Build-A-Bear on the cheap, and all I could think is how much that time is worth. Holy jeezum. I take great joy in thinking on the negatives we are missing out on; it helps me to feel less awful when everyone waxes poetic on all the amazing life-affirming, purpose-driven things we don't have because we don't have children. I love raising a glass of fancy wine to no day care costs. I love that I'm at a point where I can do that and mean it, too. :)

  3. I love this and had not heard of it. I know I have felt FOMO in the past about having kids and getting to raise them, but I don't usually feel it in any other situations. In my 20s I went out all the time and was always with friends doing fun stuff. I am so glad there wasn't social media back then. Now I am perfectly content at home--JOMO!. :)

  4. That’s it I’m making JOMO a priority this summer. Can’t wait to put it to good use...

  5. I love the idea of JOMO! In fact, I think I try to make that my philosophy about living a No Kidding life.