Texts, voicemails, emails, newsletters, reminder alerts, calendars, alarms . . . today more than ever, humans are bombarded with “things that are happening today, tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, this month . . .” It’s exhausting. I’m having a mild panic attack just reading the previous sentence. You don’t even have to be a very social person to be inundated with appointments. We exist in a world that can’t stop talking. It’s like a constant show-and-tell. It’s what led to the buzz term “FOMO” (fear of missing out). But now, in response, we have JOMO — the joy of missing out.
Screw everyone and everything in 2015 — and do more of what you want! It’s that simple.
I’m inspired by Halifax filmmaker Andrea Dorfman, whose video How To Be Alone went viral this year (it was officially uploaded in 2010 — that’s some really advanced JOMO). She encourages viewers to nurture JOMO behaviour by testing out being alone in “acceptable places” like the bathroom, coffee shops and the library. It’s not much of a stretch to “stall,” as she puts it, and read a paper or people-watch. Then there’s the gym and public transportation —perfect places to put in your headphones and listen to something new or something you love. But JOMO doesn’t mean always being alone. It can also mean hanging out with friends at home or, yes, in a bar; just pick and choose the friends to do it with to ensure maximum fun.
Look at your inbox. Unsubscribe from anything you constantly delete. Remember that time you signed up for a newsletter for cool gay events in NYC? It might feel cool to still be getting it, but you haven’t been in four years. Get rid of it.
Look at your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I noticed a friend-culling trend this year, but there’s no need to be that dramatic. On Facebook, just hide the feeds of people who bombard your timeline with events or photos of their wild social lives. Okay, you’ll need to blatantly root out these people on Instagram and Twitter, but improve your feeds by following magazines you love or writers and photographers doing cool, inspiring stuff. This will encourage more feelings of curiosity, rather than guilt.
The whole point of JOMO in 2015 is to learn to be happy in your own world instead of validating yourself through someone’s else’s achievements and social calendar. I’ll warn you now: it’s going to be tough. Next year and beyond, we will be online and reachable more than we’ve ever been. I think the trick is to treat purposefully missing out as a vote of confidence in yourself. It’s not rude to reject an invite — it’s being your own life editor! Choose the best of 2015 for yourself, and this year will be a joyful one indeed.