I wrote a post last year about being overcommitted in terms of time and events and money. It was a note to myself to not let it happen again this year.
Yet, here we are, 5 months into 2016, and our calendar is as full as ever. And it’s pretty much my fault.
I most definitely suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). I want to do everything, see everything and be everywhere. This has become magnified since my Dad’s illness was diagnosed, and only escalates as time goes on.
I think we live in a want it all society these days. When I was younger travel was less easy to arrange, flights were more expensive. High Street shops would carry the same stock for weeks on end. There was no internet, or online shopping, or even Sunday and late night shopping! Eating out was an every so often treat we used to get dressed up for and takeaways might happen once every couple of months.
(I’m aware this is turning into a “when I were a lass” diatribe, which is not my intention at all!)
The point I’m trying to make is how different things are now. The flight for my trip to Lyon and back cost less than £100. A weekday train ticket to London for work is more than that! Stores get deliveries of new ranges on a weekly if not daily basis and the number of items they stock and supply online is into the thousands. Next day, or even same day, delivery means not having to wait. Popping to the pub for a bite to eat and a drink after work is no big deal, and a takeaway at least once a week is more or less an expectation. Sites like Groupon and Wowcher offer cut price hotel stays. Websites like Red Letter Days enable people to fly a plane, drive a tank or go in a hot air balloon. All of these things are out there, seemingly for the taking, and we’re bombarded with them through email, advertising and the media.
Social media has a big impact on the want it all society. There have been studies on the mental impact it can have when we’re looking at photographs of perfect people on perfect holidays in perfect bikinis when we’re sitting at home in our scruffs and unwashed hair watching Friends on repeat. The trouble is, in an age where we can follow people we’ve never met on Instagram and Twitter, our minds and expectations aren’t just confined to the realms of what our families and friends are doing. We’re seeing people our age with what we perceive to be better lives than we have. We have an insight into the worlds of people we probably wouldn’t mix with or even meet in real life. And it magnifies FOMO.
Me? I’m a realist. I know that I’m never going to have the gorgeous bronzed bikini body because I like food too much. I’m never going to be a constant traveller because I have a life at home with family to think about and a mortgage to pay and a car to run. I can’t just give up life and follow my dreams. I’m never going to be posting pictures of fancy hotels and fancy restaurants serving fancy foods because that’s not my comfort zone; I’m too down to earth and clumsy to feel at home anywhere with fine china or silver service!
But it doesn’t stop me wanting the most out of my own life, within the realms of what I know is possible for me. Which is why I never say no to a gig I want to go to, in case I don’t get chance to see the band again. Or why I’m always pushing for a city break or a holiday or a day out to soak up everything that’s out there to see. Or why I cave when husband mentions takeaway, even mid week, because food is such a joy and a pleasure and I love eating more than I love being the skinny minnie I was when I was 20 (damnit!)
I’m lucky that I have disposable income to do (most of) the things I want in life. It hasn’t been handed to me on a plate though. I have studied and worked to reach this point, as has the husband. We’ve also made conscious life decisions that facilitate our lifestyle. We don’t want children and we don’t live in a big house. We choose life over possessions (apart from shoes. Because, well, shoes!)
I also control my expectations, to a certain extent, by not overexposing myself to social media accounts of people who will make me question my own life. As a rule I don’t follow aspirational blogs or instagram accounts with millions of followers, because they’re unrealistic. I don’t see them as something to aim for, I see them as a way for me to belittle myself and my own happiness. Which I really don’t need, thank you very much! It’s not being jealous, it’s just being truthful to my own mind.
I’d much rather read about someone living a real life that’s similar to mine, with all it’s failings and foibles. A funny story about falling over. A day out at the UK seaside. A new pair of shoes from New Look or Primark. Look at Instagram photos of pretty flowers in a local park or a bright Rimmel nail varnish.
On that note I will stop my waffling and look forward to all the nice things I have coming up in the next few weeks whilst most definitely NOT thinking about things I’d like to be doing but can’t. Because really, what’s the point? Whilst I’m engulfed in FOMO about something, I’m AMO (actually missing out) on the things happening in the moment.
(P.s, if you fancy giving my realistic Instagram account a follow, click here!)
Thanks, as always, for reading! x