FOMO – the Fear of Missing Out


As a kid, I got into the habit of staying up way past my bedtime as often as I could, because I didn’t want to be asleep when and if something fantastic happened. I had no clue what that something might be, but I was sure it was really big. So, I made myself stay up.

As an adult, I would often go to seminars and events that I really couldn’t afford because of that same fear – that something irreplaceable was going to happen during the event that I would otherwise miss. I just couldn’t take that chance. So, I made myself go.

Then – finally – I reached a point where I just couldn’t afford to go; to spend more money or time taking another course or going to another event … or staying up way past my bedtime. I had to learn to prioritize, and to let go.

FOMO, as it’s known, is a painful thing to have to live with. At the time, it feels exciting. But really, it’s making me unavailable for the real thing, because I’ve spent what I had and I was busy attending something that, it turns out, really didn’t matter.

I wasn’t there for the important moment. I missed it. And that’s painful.

That point I finally reached opened a door for me. It meant I was around for the important moment.

What a relief!



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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at 


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