Fear of Missing Out

FOMO – Fear of Missing Out – is a thing. Who knew? Apparently it has even been added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

checking phone
Let me check a few things first by Johnny Silvercloud courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/s8DNC2 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Are you suffering from FOMO?

Do you compulsively check your social media updates to see what your friends are up to?

  1. Do you feel compelled to join your work colleagues at every after work event?
  2. Do you over commit so as to attend every party/barbecue/impromptu get together?
  3. Do you check Rightmove and other property listing sites not because you have any intention of moving house but because you want to see what others have got?
  4. Do you binge watch the latest box sets so you know what everyone else is talking about?

If you answered yes to the above, chances are you are suffering from FOMO.

Wikipedia describes FOMO as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”. This social angst is characterised by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”.

Smartphones
Man Woman Smartphones Restaurant by David van der Mark courtesy Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/y6sdfD https://goo.gl/OOAQfn

Is it any wonder therefore that most of us feel exhausted most of the time?

Human beings are designed to have periods of action and periods of rest. If our rest time is dominated by our digital devices the quality of that rest time decreases. Whilst interacting on social media isn’t physically demanding, mentally and sometimes emotionally it can take its toll. Even if we are not aware of it our bodies will react to what we are reading, writing or seeing. Anger, frustration, joy and laughter all create a physical reaction. We have already put our bodies through a tough day. To then spend the evening and sometimes even the night too dancing the digital dance leaves us feeling over stimulated. Is it any wonder that so many people complain of not being able to sleep properly? Our minds are still wired and busily processing all of the images that have been teeming in front of our eyes.

We have reached the point societally where Mums ignore and do not interact with their children as much as they would have done in previous years because they are instead interacting with their phones. Couples are going out to dinner and checking their devices instead of actually talking to one another.

Don’t get me wrong, computers, iPads and phones are wonderful things but they are meant to enhance our lives not dominate them to the point of destruction. We are in danger of diluting our personal relationships with children and spouses and wider family members for the sake of our relationship with our phones and by extension our relationship with our friends and followers. Which do you think is more important?

helloworld
Hello, world by Dwayne Bent courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/c9BGhf https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Disconnecting in the short term – a digital detox – is perfectly possible but what about in the long term? Spending time on our phones is a habit. We do it through the fear or missing out and often from boredom. Interestingly, we often feel less fulfilled as a result. The nagging thought that we are “wasting time”, the incessant comparing of ourselves or our lives to others often leaves us feeling inadequate and dissatisfied. Perhaps it’s time to kick the habit.

Limiting the time you spend on your phone or other devices is the answer. As with breaking any ingrained habit the best way to draw back is by doing it over a number of weeks. Don’t set yourself unrealistic targets and don’t beat yourself up if you fall short. Persevere however because the results will be worth it.

A whole new world of possibilities will open up for you together with the time and space to reconnect with your old world – the people who physically share your life. In turn this will lead to you feeling more connected than you ever did previously, you will also have a greater sense of fulfillment and contentment. What’s not to love about that?

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Being Grateful

In the UK we have a genealogy programme on the BBC called ‘Who do you think you are?’ It follows a celebrity as they are led on their journey through their family tree. Sometimes it concentrates on a particular family member, or an area of the country or event. Sometimes it simply traces the various lines back as far as they can go. For me, as someone who loves history and social history in particular, it is an hour well spent.

For years now I have been tracing my own family tree back through the generations. I have stumbled upon a few merchants who did quite well for themselves on the wider branches of the family but for the direct line hard work and modest achievement seems to have been the key. Good country and city folk who worked hard to provide for their families and carve out a life for themselves. There were a few rotten apples in the barrel but that was only to be expected when my research had been so in depth and all encompassing.

luke-owen-scowen
Oak tree in May by Luke Andrew Scowen courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/6s3niC https://goo.gl/1tqqFf

The job is not yet done. As any genealogist, amateur or professional, will tell you there are always new records waiting to be unearthed, new discoveries to be made and I still have one half of my family tree as yet mostly unexplored.

Whilst my Mum was a devoted reader, neither of my parents wrote anything more than the odd letter. No one in my immediate family has any compunction to write other than me. It leaves me wondering where my talent, if I dare call it that, comes from.

I had hoped that possibly somewhere in my family tree I would find a writer. A firm link back to a passion I have always had within me, a long lost ancestor whose genes I undoubtedly shared but alas no. At least not one I can prove.

It strikes me that I probably did have ancestors who shared my love of words and my passion for creativity but such were the circumstances that surrounded their lives it was impossible for them to pursue their dreams or give flight to their imaginations beyond perhaps story telling in the pub or around the hearth. I will never know.

storytellers
Storytellers by Rebecca.Smiles courtesy of Flick Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/cCmTD3 https://goo.gl/gQxL7i

But it gave me pause for thought. How lucky am I to live at a time when all of these opportunities are available to me? In the rush and tumble of the modern word it is all too easy to lose sight of that.

So today, I’m feeling grateful.

grateful
Grateful by Barbara Olsen courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-ND 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/5Pksmd https://goo.gl/am9RwC

Thanks for the Memories

memory
Memory by Silvia Vinuales courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-ND 2.0

https://flic.kr/p/6UsiLA   https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

I am grateful for the happy family memories that have been created over the years. Holidays and high days, summer sun and Christmas fun. Warm smiles and laughter and silly jokes. I’m grateful for the way that memories can spring from nowhere brought to the fore by a colour or a smell or a song on the radio and I am once again back there with the wonderful people and pets I have been lucky enough to share my life with.

I’m grateful that I will always have those memories stored away in my subconscious. A treasure trove to call on now some of the sweet souls who helped create them are gone. They will be there to comfort me on the cold days without them, they will help to dry my tears and make me smile again. And I am thankful for that.

Last night I had a dream. It involved close family members, some alive, some not. We were enjoying a day out sightseeing in London. We had a fine time. I can’t recall the places we visited but I remember how happy I felt. I came home with a glossy bag depicting some of London’s most famous landmarks and, bizarrely, a 30% off voucher for afternoon tea!

Whilst I have done ‘the sights’ in London many times over the years and sometimes with members of my family, I have never done it with the exact combination of people who undertook the trip in my dream. I have my memories to thank for creating that and I am grateful.

floating-heart
Heart by Seyed Mostafa Zamani courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

https://flic.kr/p/7uZPny      https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 

Progress?

So here’s the thing, I’m an independent woman who pays all her own bills, both employed and self employed, I’m used to juggling priorities and commitments. I can do things today that my own grandmothers could only have dreamed of but that cuts both ways.

Both my grandmothers were talented seamstresses. In those days lots of women were, you had to be to make ends meet. Make and mend was the way most working class families got by. Women with needlework skills could not only make clothes for their families, provide soft furnishings for the house and repair any damage done, they could also supplement the household income by taking in work for others. It was an essential skill in days gone by.

seamstress
The Seamstress by Texasbubba courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

https://flic.kr/p/6cUzwC  https://goo.gl/OOAQfn

Now here’s my confession – I can’t sew to save my life. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration. If someone had a gun to my head I could probably sew a button on. How long it would remain on is not something I would want to stick around to found out but at a push I could do it. Make my own clothes?! Forget about it. Even if I had the inclination (which I don’t), the skills would be sadly lacking and any item I managed to produce I probably wouldn’t want to be seen dead in.

seamstress-basics
Seamstress Basics by Anika courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CCO 1.0 Public Domain

https://flic.kr/p/umk5Qx  https://goo.gl/WJLbKh

And that, as Carrie Bradshaw used to say, got me to thinking. Would my grandmothers be disappointed that the skills they once deemed essential had been lost to their granddaughter or would they be pleased that I live and thrive in a world where those skills are no longer deemed necessary? I like to think the latter. How about you?