I came across a new word recently; an abbreviation, really – FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out. Purportedly explaining why, like lemmings, we are all jumping onto the same bandwagon that we see others doing. Be it at work, running at a frantic, frenetic pace in the race to corporate head honcho-dom or megabucks. Or in our personal lives, to acquire bigger, better tangibles before the other guy.
There is no sound thinking in this. It’s mindless me too-ism. It’s no more keeping up with the Jones’, it’s outdoing them till they hang their heads down in defeat and raise a white kerchief in surrender. Where is this coming from? An extreme drive to excel and reap the material fruits of that excellence? Abject need? Unfulfilled desire? Insecurity? An understanding that time and the abovementioned fruits are finite?
Which leads me to a second abbreviation – YOLO, You Only Live Once. The new mantra, circa the twenty-teens. Live it up and live it large. An idea aided and abetted by media, by access to easy money and the like-minded masses. Here and now has become this very instant in size XL. With an inherent need to Snapchat / Instagram it to the extended clan. And where does this come from? Is sharing on social media a new form of showing off? Since YOLO, check this out, guys, and burn! And then the next guy runs towards it because of his FOMO. And a chain reaction is formed.
If only we were so intelligent, we’d also then understand that those very fruit are transient and superficial and, in the larger scheme of things, absolutely inconsequential.
So, instead of running around after trivial pursuits like headless chickens, or showing off like preening Facebook peacocks, let me introduce one of my own abbreviations – SDTIE, Slow Down, Take It Easy. You don’t have to do it all. And you certainly don’t have to do what the other guy has done. Sometimes indulge in what the Italians have the exact word for (without of course, immediately Tweeting a “Yay, I did it!”) – dolce far niente – the sweetness of doing nothing. Doesn’t cost, won’t hurt.