Another day another acronym to describe what used to be broadly termed as “normal behaviour.”
This time it’s JOMO. A sort of antithetical companion to the long-established FOMO.
A brief recap: Fear Of Missing Out makes a lot of young folk angsty as they see everybody else on the entire planet crazily partying on Phuket or – worse! – having vegan spaghetti bolognese round at Alex and Freddie’s new gaff. Which is really upsetting because they chatted to Alex this morning at the farmers’ market and she never said a word.
FOMO blights lives. No exaggeration. Any parent who has ever tried to cheer up a morose teenager who wasn’t invited somewhere by someone and is instead eating a prohibitively expensive Deliveroo pizza and intermittently shouting and groaning at what looks like a live Instagram feed holds this truth to be self-evident.
There’s also the subset FOBO, which is Fear of Better Options but I’ll put that to one side. If someone will only tell me which side is the best one.
In contrast to the stressful pressure of being switched on and up for anything, constantly scrolling through friends’ Snapchat stories in search of disappointment, JOMO is the Joy Of Missing Out and an altogether more fabulous and elevated state of being.
Beloved of lazy bones, introverts and middle-aged men (but I tautologise), JOMO means swapping fear for joy. Or, less earnestly, turning necessity into virtue. Nowhere to be? Pretend you prefer it that way.
Back in the day (yesterday, before I learned JOMO was a thing) I was, in truth, a huge fan of the cheeky cancellation – or CC as we term it here in Woods Towers. I really appreciate a CC as I scarcely have enough me-time to moisturise, much less lounge on the sofa with a book, a dog and the smug knowledge that I will rise in the morning without the hangxiety that invariably follows any splendid occasion. But crucially I must be invited before I am de-invited or de-invite myself. Not being invited is the soul-crushing part. I can’t pretend not to be bothered.
My husband on the other hand loves a night in. And a day in. A weekend in? Perfect. Let’s just say lockdown wasn’t as tough for some as for others. Is JOMO simply an age and stage phenomenon? Perhaps. Smugness is admittedly the main side effect, along with too much telly and Victor Meldrew levels of unsociability.
There is, however, quite the vogue for staying in and engaging in worthy activities among stubbornly normcore Gen Zers. Why, as far back as 2019 an online survey by marketing site Campaign Live revealed that 43 per cent of youngsters said they make the active decision to spend a couple of hours a day away from social media. Two hours. Imagine. Apparently that’s the new definition of self-care.
Maybe that’s the way forward for people like me who oscillate wildly between FOMO and JOMO.
Self-care rebranded as don’t care, with a sprinkle of pious virtue signalling. Until someone sends me an invitation when I’ll be out of the house faster than you can shriek YOLO (You Only Live Once, c’mon, keep up).
Joy at missing out is all well and good; but first you’ve got to know what, exactly, you are missing…