Does anyone else feel this fear of missing out (FOMO) even though they’re happy? Like when does the safe choice become the wrong choice? Is boring really so bad?
University was supposed to be the time where I went to parties, got blackout drunk, flirted with cute boys, and did things I would live to regret when I turn 40.
Movies always make it out to be this super awesome experience that you’ll never forget. People tell me that they started “really living” when they started university, and that their “twenties were wild, man!”
I’m almost twenty now, about half way through my university experience, and I feel like I really should be turning fifty.
So here’s the thing.
My parents always taught me to be frugal, hard working, and safe.
There were no parties or underage drinking under their watch. Maybe once in a blue moon I was given the OK to go out on a school night to see a movie. Maybe.
But introverted me didn’t really mind that too much. In fact my Friday night of choice is still to be drinking tea under a blanket, playing mah-jong with my friends. Even if alcohol was on the table, I would reach for the Pepsi.
I was raised to be smart and responsible, which is why I spend my time alternating between four months of intensely studying to be a computer engineer, and then flying off to work for four months at a time as an intern.
There are no summers off exploring Asia, no Saturday nights at a bar with my co-workers (because I’m still underage in America where I work, ugh), no casual flings (because I’m currently in quite the long term relationship, and it’s great tyvm).
I feel like it’s more common now to take some time off school and try your hand at something like vlogging on YouTube. The non-traditional, slightly more glamorous paths seem like what people my age are loving.
This constant exposure to seeing their lives seem to pan out great is what’s making me re-evaluate my own life.
My life is basically a cycle of just studying, working, figuring out finances and taxes, and finding a new place to live every four months.
When I look at social media, I have the overwhelming fear of missing out (a.k.a. FOMO) on what’s left of my youth. My classmates are trying casual drugs, frequent Tinder, party in exotic places (often in bikinis) — and they seem like they’re loving it. At least from their Instagram profiles, it seems like they’re #living their best young life. Taking the time to experiment, get a little wild, and also making sure to document all of it of course.
Should I be dating a whole bunch of guys to see what I like best? Should I be getting lit on my Friday nights instead of buying groceries and doing laundry? Should I be travelling the world and exploring my unknown creative passions?
I half feel like I need to go out and do something exciting like go sky diving (as is the latest trend taking over my Instagram feed). But then the other half of me reminds myself that I have a terrible fear of heights, and get sick with any sort of motion.
It’s like a constant war with myself that I’ve been thinking about a lot as I get closer to entering my twenties. Am I missing out on the chance to be crazy and exciting? People keep telling me all these great stories about their twenties, and that they wish they could still go out and do all these things, but they can’t because they’re too old now.
Am I going to be that person at thirty or forty that looks back and was like, nothing really happened in my twenties? Am I going to be that person at the wine tasting, whose most exciting story about their youth was something totally lame like “I once fell asleep in the middle of a party, but it was a raging party — you had to be there”?
But does it matter?
I’m pretty happy right now in my two-year relationship, I like being able to work and support myself, and I don’t really mind saving the money and calories on not drinking beer I don’t like anyways.
I feel pretty content right now, despite the stress of growing up and feeling like I don’t quite belong with the young people of today.
BUT WHAT IF I’M MISSING OUT AND MAKING A MISTAKE AND WILL LIVE TO REGRET MY LACK OF ADVENTURE WHEN I’M FORTY?!?!
I really don’t know.
On one hand, I’m not unhappy, so it’s like, why fix something if it ain’t broke? On the other hand, there’s major FOMO that I think is fuelled by social media which lets me see all these amazing things out there, and how my life doesn’t quite reflect them.
Open Questions (that I’d love the answers to):
- What do you wish you had done in your twenties?
- Do you think your twenties are the time to work, or to play while you can?
- Do you think it’s better to play the field a little, and not attach yourself to someone so early?
- Am I making the right decision by spending my summers working instead of something else?
- Is the life of a social media personality/travel vlogger/beauty guru as awesome as it seems?