I am a product of the FOMO generation. The generation whose fear of missing out is so great, that we spend most of our waking moments staring at the screen on our phones; instead of staring at the faces of the people in front of us. The generation that can’t even sit through a movie without checking Facebook. The generation that documents everything on Snapchat because we live with the mentality that if we can’t prove it with pictures, it didn’t really happen.
Don’t get me wrong, I think social media is a wonderful thing and in no way do I want it to disappear. I just think that when we have the ability to see every move people make through their Instagram accounts it’s hard not to get jealous when it looks like they’ve achieved something we think we deserve. We begin to define ourselves based on the way someone else’s life looks through the pictures they post and develop an “I want more” attitude to try to compensate for what we think we’ve been denied.
The problem is by spending so much time fixating on other people’s dream vacations or #relationshipgoals we’re unknowingly giving our peers permission to live the life we want while we sit on the sidelines and watch. The constant comparison of our lives, to the lives of strangers on the Internet causes us so much anxiety that we can’t be proud of our every day lives; because they just don’t seem exciting enough. The funny thing is that we never think it through; no one’s every day life is exciting.
When I post a picture online, I make sure it’s a picture of something exciting that is going to get me a lot of likes. I would never post a picture of my long day at work or of an essay I wrote about “Of Mice & Men” because those things are looked at as boring. I’m pretty sure if you asked anyone my age they would all admit to having the same screening process for posting on social media. Even though this is a process we go through on a regular basis we still forget that everything we see on social media is the portrayal of someone’s life at a peaking moment causing us to compare our boring everyday life to that one exciting trip someone else took around the world. I’ve always been taught that comparing yourself to others will only disappoint you, so why do we insist on making ourselves miserable?
I don’t want to be part of a generation of people that is okay with allowing themselves to feel less significant than someone else just because their Instagram isn’t filled with pictures of thrilling moments. I don’t want to be part of a generation that is too complacent on their cell phones that they let a stranger live the life they’re secretly dreaming of instead of making things happen for themselves. I don’t want to be part of a generation that uses technology to slow them down. I’m sick of it.
I do want to be part of a generation that uses our fear of missing out as motivation to accomplish something amazing. A generation that doesn’t compare their worst to someone else’s best. A generation that motivates, moves and changes the world.
I am a product of the FOMO generation, and I think it’s time things changed.