Posted on February 17th, 2016 by Suzanne
My daughter, a freshman at Berkeley, called the other day to tell me she had a disease which she was certain she had inherited from me. She was very upset, Fomo was ruining her life and making her miserable.
Immediately my mind turned to fungus, black moldy growth that begins between the toes then spreads outward, metastasizing like a flesh-eating virus, causing appendages to fall off as it worms its way into your organs, eating them away until eventually it kills you.
My daughter was still talking, but I was no longer listening, my fingers flying over the keyboard, logging into WebMD to discover the prognosis and how long we had to live.
“0 results found.”
I typed it into Google:
anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.
I screamed into the phone. I twirled in my chair. I fist pumped the air. I stared at the word until it blurred. It has a name. I am not alone. As a matter of fact, so many people suffer from this affliction it has its own acronym. I am a Fomophobiac, a Fomoer, a Fomoniac.
My daughter had hung up by now. I’m not exactly sure when she broke the connection, probably around the time I whooped and hollered as she was telling me about the devastation FOMO was causing in her life.
I sat back, a smile on my face. Then I frowned. My daughter was right. She had definitely inherited her Fomo-ing from me—adding one more way in which I had profoundly screwed up my kid.
My husband has no FOMO. He is content, believes his life is full and fulfilling. He doesn’t even have a Facebook account, so how could he possibly have FOMO. His life is not interrupted every thirty seconds with a post of someone doing something amazing like climbing Mount Everest or building villages in Nigeria or having a mocha in San Francisco with the cream carved into a heart…or…or…or!!! At any given second, at least half a dozen of my friends are doing something way more incredible than me.
Not five minutes ago, I got a post from a friend doing a backbend on a surfboard that was floating in the Caribbean with the cruise ship she was traveling on in the background. She had updated it as her cover photo. She’s my age (remember, I have a daughter who is a freshman at Berkeley), and here this woman is doing yoga on a surfboard in a smoking-hot red bikini and posting it to thousands of friends (don’t even get me started on friend envy). She had 73 likes, and seriously the post had appeared only minutes before. My brain screamed: I am not worthy! Not only do I not have a body that can rock a smoking-hot red bikini, I cannot do a backbend, I certainly cannot do one while floating on a surfboard, I have never taken a cruise, I have never been to the Caribbean, and even if I could manage all of those things, I am certain I would not have 93…94…97 likes in six minutes.
I need to go to the gym. I need to take a yoga class. I need to go on a cruise. I need to buy a smoking-hot red bikini. The stress is killing me.
I think I’d rather have a flesh-eating virus.