Until a month ago, I didn’t even realize that the fear of missing out — FOMO — was keeping people up at night.
Apparently, it’s a big cause of social anxiety, fueled by social media. For those not familiar with FOMO, it’s the acute and often unjustified belief that everyone is having more fun than you, and that you are somehow being left out of all the fun.
Me? I don’t suffer from FOMO. These days, what with my penchant for falling asleep on the couch while pretending to read, I am secretly thrilled when something is canceled and I don’t have to change my clothes.
Nonetheless, I do suffer from other fears and thought I would share them with you today. Perhaps you suffer from them too and may not feel so alone after my frank outpouring. Let’s begin.
FOBO: fear of bulging out. I don’t know about other baby boomers who grapple with gravity’s pull, but my fleshy pockets have taken on a life of their own. The disobedient pouches amuse themselves by popping out of their restrictive garments at the worst moments. Just the other day, a few snuck out of my waistband when I was reaching for cereal at the grocery store. Yikes! Do you think Spanx makes a full-body suit?
FOBO: fear of blurting out. I’m all for “telling it like it is,” but lately I’ve been “telling it too much like it is.” I seem to have lost my sense for censor, blathering on and on about, say, the agony of childbirth to my pregnant niece, the torture of a root canal to my poor aunt, the horror of finding dog hairs everywhere to my dismayed dinner guests and the grim reality of politics to anyone who will listen. I’m afraid the Pandora’s box of my aging brain will never close again.
FOLO: fear of losing out. Getting a hot deal on something has become our nation’s favorite sport, and I never seem to score. Despite my all-consuming internet searches, frantic eBay bids and boatload of coupons, I can never seem to get it right. As a result, I now go toward every purchase with grave trepidation. Am I being had? Will the price drop tomorrow? Would it be OK if I told anyone who got a good deal to stuff it?
FOZO: fear of zoning out. La, la, la, la, la…what? What do I think of what? Let me get back to you on that…whatever “that” is. At least once a day, I now find myself drifting away…from conversations, from my grocery cart, from the gas I’m pumping into my car. It’s not like I’m thinking big thoughts either; I’m just mindlessly fluttering away. It’s worrisome! What if I drift away when my hairstylist asks if I want bangs? That would be tragic!
Although space doesn’t permit me to jabber on about my other fears, I confess to also suffering from FOPO, fear of passing out (long lines do me in!); FOTO, fear of throwing out (downsizing is hard!); and…and…oh, I can’t remember. There’s a birdie outside the window. La, la, la, la…Zzzzzzz.
Anne Palumbo writes this column for Messenger Post newspapers. Her email is avpalumbo@aol.com.