Society is degenerating to a constant state of anxiety and fear, especially the fear of missing out. What if we missed an email, text, post, tweet, party, sale, invitation, night out, gossip, especially about celebrities, trips, trends…what if we just missed something? The only thing we don’t fear missing out on…voting.
While reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by the stunningly beautiful, talented, and hilarious Mindy Kaling(Three Rivers Press) I had an a-ha moment. The book itself was funny, charming, authentic, very much what you’d expect from the writer and star of The Mindy Project and The Office, she’s a hot mess and makes it work, but I started thinking about why more and more people are more depressed, stressed, anxious, suicidal, homicidal, etc. than ever, even children. I’m sure there are multiple reasons, but being in constant contact, rampant consumerism, extreme inequality, and fear of missing out must be high on the list.
So a bunch of money-grubbing, self-regulating corporations appeal to natural human curiosity, use culturally complex language, jargon, fear of missing out, pop culture references, celebrities, and even bullying to ensure we feel compelled to consume, which leads to wanting and buying and consuming even more which leads to, well, you get the picture. This isn’t just adults, we’re letting our children be groomed, to be exploited, for profit. Isn’t there a name for that?
The good news, there’s no need to stop consuming, or watching TV, or going on the internet…we just slow down and consider the source, who will profit.
Symptoms of a fear of missing out may include, but are not limited to:
1. Forgetting those you love or those in need while rushing around trying not to miss out. 2. Rationalizing buying products manufactured under deplorable conditions. 3. Describing wants as needs or worse believing wants are needs. 4. Obsessing about products, services, and activities. 5. Putting items above people.
There is hope. Some people might be doing things you’re not or having things you’re not, that doesn’t mean they’re happier or more content. It’s not a contest. Hopefully this will all level out and people will finally see what’s important instead of what’s advertised.
Since the holiday season is already being forced on us to stretch out the shopping and socializing so we’ll spend more, don’t fear missing out, celebrate what you have.