I read an article recently in the New York Times that really resonated with me and I wanted to share it with you. I would love to get some feed back about how you approach this idea. The article was about JOMO, which the author explains is the “joy of missing out.” It is the antithesis to FOMO, or the “fear of missing out.”
This article talks about purposefully letting things fall out of our lives and instead of seeing it as a loss, actually seeing it as a gift of time to focus on the things that truly matter. This idea in general sounds like mindfulness to me. It invites us to be present enough with ourself to make purposeful decision about how we want to be spending our time. This feels like such an important concept because at any moment in time most people have access to an unlimited amount of information and entertainment via the web, TV, and video games.
I remember a time growing up where we did not have the internet in our home, and our TV consisted of 6, maybe 7, working channels. We also didn’t have the ability to record TV and watch it later. So if you didn’t catch the show you wanted to see while it was on you just… missed it. It was this time of life that I (now fondly) remember feeling bored. As a result of having nothing to do it created a sort of empty space where nothing would happen unless I made it happen. I have fond feelings about this time of life now because in hindsight I can see it for the useful role it played in shaping me into the creative and active person that I am.
I believe that we still have the capacity to push ourselves in this way now, even with the constant flow of information and entertainment, but that in order to get there we need to be more purposeful in our approach. Here are my suggestions to finding a creative boredom. Please leave comments about what you do and how you make this space for yourself.
An obvious first step to achieve a healthy level of boredom is to disconnect from the things that keep our minds endlessly busy. Turn off the TV, phone, video games, and any other gadget that you find yourself getting lost in. You will initially find yourself in a state of silence. Don’t panic. And also, don’t jump to quickly into doing something. Take some time in that silence to check in with how you feel both physically and emotionally. Breath deeply. Relax your body. And feel just what you’re feeling.
One of the main reasons for me to pull myself from the internet or TV is to make sure I’m making meaningful connections with people I care about. This might sound like an easy thing to do, but as an introvert it actually takes a good amount of convincing for me to want to make myself available and vulnerable to others. Even though this can be a difficult task for some, I truly believe that we are healthier and happier when we are connected with others.
This is a qualitatively different connection than ones that you will find online. There is something very important about looking into people’s eyes, sharing yourself with them, caring for people and letting them care for you.
Plan, but Don’t Plan
And lastly, I would recommend that we make plans in life, but that we leave ourselves open to the possibilities that we cannot plan for. My experience has been that my plans rarely work out and my direction often changes. And I’m grateful for the adventures I’ve let myself have when I’m not too stuck in my own plans.
I hope we can all feel a good amount of JOMO this Summer. Unplug, reconnect with the humans in your life, and be open to the possibility that fewer plans can lead to meaningful experiences that shape our lives in great ways.