Missing Out On the Fear Of Missing Out
Not many people will suffer from FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out, during this pandemic. There are many things we can miss when we hardly go anywhere, but there won’t be that many events to actually miss out on. While FOMO is really quite nice: I may not be present at that festival or party, but at least there are things going on I said no to. The deliberate choice to spend a boring evening at home when it’s actually much more fun somewhere else: that’s the kind of freedom COVID took away from me.
You could say that I suffer from MOO-FOMO: Missing Out On the Fear Of Missing Out. My symptoms of MOO-FOMO include an explicit lack of stimulation, a certain degree of apathy once my working day is over, and – most of all – too much idle time spent on my laptop and smartphone. Before COVID, there were things that made me want to plan activities and get out of the house. Today, I’m not that easily impressed anymore: now that I’ve taken five hundred COVID strolls, a picture on Instagram of a walk in the forest no longer stirs my FOMO to such an extent that it makes me want to go outside.
Until last weekend. After a quiet period of several months, I felt a vague feeling of FOMO return – because of 15-centimeter-thick natural ice. As a true landlubber, I don’t own skates, so I had to watch as others celebrated the Dutch identity by sliding and tripping over the ice from left to right wearing an orange, woolly Unox hat. I didn’t miss recklessly falling into a hole in the ice or paying far too much money for hot chocolate milk and soup. I did however look forward to seeing people enjoy themselves, felt curious about being outside for a reason other than going to the supermarket, and wanted to feel really jealous of skaters who were better equipped than I was, both in terms of talent and skating equipment.
But that feeling soon melted away as spring approached. The moment my FOMO disappeared, MOO-FOMO took over again. I frantically started to look for a FOMO replacement and decided to hype not having a certain app. People were talking about a ‘Clubhouse,’ because that was fun and exclusive: after all, you had to be invited for it! All my dopamine cogs and wheels started to turn, and I desperately started looking for someone who could get me a ticket for the ‘live broadcasting’ platform.
The Clubhouse mission failed. I’ve had access since Wednesday and I can tell you: that app is really… well, I wouldn’t know, because I haven’t actually done anything with it so far. I guess it was mostly about the next shot of FOMO, which I craved like a junkie.
By now I have that same bored look on my face again as Sid from Ice Age. I realize that not knowing anymore how to amuse myself, while I continue to stay in perfect health, is a luxury problem. If suffering from MOO-FOMO is the worst thing that happens to me during this crisis, I should consider myself lucky. But I would still really like it if everyone had a bit more fun in the coming months – also without me.