I only learnt what FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) meant a few years ago, but now there is the even better JOMO (Joy of Missing Out). That wonderful feeling when you know you’ve got an evening in front of the fire with a good book and don’t have to go and have drinks with the neighbours. Sadly I’ve become rather adept at lying – I’m too superstitious to use the excuse of being ill – that is sure to tempt fate and I’d probably succumb to some nasty lurgy immediately, but grandchildren are an excellent excuse – everyone gets brownie points for doing granny duty, and no one can guilt you out of that one! It is lucky that our desires change as we get older – I longed for ringworm as a child, I thought it sounded quite glamorous. I was a great animal lover and had newts, frogs and toads that I had caught in the wild and incarcerated in a large tank in the nursery. Happily for them they were usually released by my father after a few days on the grounds that they wanted to go back and see their families! I suppose I imagined that I might be able to make a pet of a cute little ringworm – no one explained me that the name was a misnomer and there were no worms involved only a fungus! I also longed to be to be able to do cartwheels and to break and arm or leg so that I would have a plaster that my friends wold sign. I did eventually manage to do cartwheels but I was in my fifties when I first broke my arm and was in plaster by which time the desire to have it covered in signatures had dissipated[SS1] .
Old age brings many tribulations but there are compensations and JOMO is definitely one of them. I never went to Studio 54 in New York, in fact I never went to New York during the time it was there, but if I had been there I certainly wouldn’t have got in – I would never have been cool enough, but I would definitely have felt a pang of regret or envy. A clear case of FOMO. No longer. I would happily relinquish any chance of going there – in fact I would pay good money not to have to go to a club, any club, that involved a lot of noise, crowded rooms and standing around. There is a local venue called YOYO which is short for You’re Only Young Once – for which thank heaven. Arguably our youth passes us by too quickly but being frozen in time would become increasingly weird as the years went by. There are so many things to worry about for the young – I’m very glad that I didn’t waste money on plastic surgery when I was young – having a perfect body was more a wistful fantasy than something I was prepared to spend money on, although dieting did play a big part in my life. As I once said to my late husband ‘I’d do anything to lose weight’, to which he retorted, rather unnecessarily, ‘Except eat less’! FOMO indeed when I measured myself against my friends who all seemed to be effortlessly slim, but in that case my FOMO was for another potato or an extra slice of cake.
I went to a funeral recently and obviously one doesn’t suffer FOMO on those occasions, but I was giving a friend a lift and when we arrived for the wake cars were being directed into a field, however the man in charge waved me on towards the house. Once we had driven past him my friend told me she was sure he meant us to go into another field. ‘No’, I said, ’I think he thought we were very important’. However I wasn’t completely convinced as no other cars were going directly to the house, although as soon as we had parked in the field we did see several other cars being directed down the drive. When we left some time later I was, as frequently happens, hoist on my own petard. It was not the VIPs who were being directed towards the house, but the halt, lame, elderly and infirm! A bit of misplaced FOMO there.
However I am not completely immune from FOMO due to an incursble Amazon habit. The other day my car wouldn’t start snd a friend produced this great portable pack with jump leads which you can use to start a vehicle comletely independently of another vehicle. I had barely got into my house before I was on the computer ordering one for myself. Another friend had this amazing heated jacket – I simply had to have one. FOMO reared it’s ugly head with a vengeance – the desperate need in the afternoon for something that I hadn’t known I wanted that morning.