By now you have probably come across the abbreviation “FOMO.” It stands for the “Fear Of Missing Out.”
Fear, as we all know, is a vital response to physical and emotional danger that has been pivotal throughout evolution. If people didn’t feel fear, they wouldn’t be able to protect themselves from legitimate threats—which often had life-or-death consequences in the ancestral world.
Today, in our modern world, the stakes are lower. Although elevators, public speaking, and spiders generally don’t present immediately dire consequences, some individuals still develop extreme fight-flight-or-freeze responses to specific objects or scenarios.
Many people experience occasional bouts of fear, such as when giving a high-stakes presentation, or feelings of "nerves," such as going on a first date. But when a fear is persistent, specific to certain threat, and impairs one’s life or growth, that person might have a truly specific phobia.
For so many, there is a constant urge to be involved in everything that's happening around them.
People (in the hundreds of thousands a day) check social media obsessively because there is a crazy fear of being out-of-the-loop, or not being the coolest, or not being invited to an event, or not being the most liked.
This is FOMO.
Heaven forbid one should miss the latest news about whether Brad and Jen are getting back together, or which winter coat is most trendy, or what's going on with the Kardashians or even what your friends ate for breakfast this morning.
People are so super hyped-up with the current trends, pop culture, politics and the news that most of the time, they're actually with their friends, at a cafe, sitting across from each other glued to their phones yearning for the latest and trendiest updates to text each other later.
Big city brands even capitalize brand identity around FOMO. Take Starbucks, for example, an up-and-coming coed in university would rather be seen holding a branded Starbucks cup walking across campus instead of an unbranded thermos of delicious piping hot coffee that they made at home. To them, they haven't missed out. They're cool. They go to Starbucks, after all. They are well-connected with what's trendy. What's new! What's now! They're on the inside.
Big cities are a phenomenon. While this country is comprised of miles upon miles of beautiful uninhabited plains, hills, countrysides, and valleys leading to the big (and bigger) city down the road, people flock to the city, rather than the rural countrysides.
This is because cities thrive on that culture of being "in the city." Being in-the-know. Living on-the-grid. Once you're in, you're IN. You're inside.
City life envelops you and you're wrapped up in that city culture. Soon, you find it extremely difficult to unplug, unwind, relax and even properly rest/de-stress.
Think about this analogy for a moment:
In any casino that you visit, EVERY casino actually, you will experience an all-too-common ingenious design where all the table games and slot machines are located.
There are NO windows.
EVERY casino's gambling areas are encased in a window-free zone to keep you focused on what's inside (not outside) and to keep you staying inside without any desire to go outside (or worse, without conjuring desire to leave and not spend more and more and more...)
A casino is much like a city all it's own. With so much going on, and with tons to do, see and experience inside the city, city life is designed to keep you inside the city. Today, social media perpetuates the inability to unplug from city life.
Eureka Springs has such an appeal to many that flock here from cities. While social media is also wildly prevalent in our world here in Eureka Springs, the culture of Eureka Springs has highly trended toward JOMO and balance. We use technology and social media here to improve life and not distract from it.
JOMO is a sociological phenomenon which is a direct response to FOMO. It is the acronym for the "Joy of Missing Out," or enjoying what you're doing in each moment without worrying about what everyone else is doing, and why you're missing out. JOMO is a powerful concept to help us unplug and take time to be present and conscious of where we are, who and what's around us, and to be connected to it all in a natural, human way.
In short, JOMO is enjoying who you're with, where you are and what your doing in the moment. Sure, this can happen inside cities too, it's just much harder to unplug with so much city stimulation and a faster pace.
Don't get me wrong, Eureka's always had JOMO, it's just that JOMO has gotten much more popularity as of late.
In 2006, I used to do one MFW weekend every three months. (MFW = Media Free Weekend.) An MFW is similar to the Tech Shabbat which is a term coined in 2010 by Tiffany Shlain and Ken Goldberg to describe a day of rest or cessation from the use of all technology with screens: smartphones, personal computers, tablets, ipods, television, etc.
More and more articles about a Tech Shabbat are surfacing as people begin to realize that it is absolutely OK to be out-of-the-loop sometimes and it's actually quite healthy to stop, rest and reset.
This term, Shabbat, is based on the practice of observant Orthodox Jews, who refrain from all work from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
In Eureka Springs, only some of us are 100% off-the-grid, a select few, but the rest of us are certainly not "bright lights big city." There is a perfect blend here that helps restore balance to life.
Nestled in the Ozarks, Eureka Springs has steep winding streets filled with Victorian-style cottages and manors.
The historic commercial downtown of the city has an extensive streetscape of well-preserved Victorian buildings. The buildings are primarily constructed of local stone, built along streets that curve around the hills and rise and fall with the topography in a five-mile long loop. Some buildings have street-level entrances on more than one floor. The streets wind around the town, and no two intersect at a 90 degree angle; there is not one single traffic light here.
Since residing here, people don't ask “What did I miss?” This is because of JOMO. Visitors and locals here are outside making a conscious decision to embrace the experience in the moment, where they are, and who they're with.
FOMO, is fading away, because, well, in 2020, we literally missed out on EVERYTHING (as the year was entirely cancelled.) The human race perseveres and many see life in new light as they consider the adoption of a more JOMO way of life.
Unplug, slow down, get out into nature, and experience it all with those closest to you - in Eureka Springs, AR
This is JOMO.