The Joy of Missing Out

The Joy of Missing Out

JOMO, short for the Joy of Missing Out, contrasts its more famous - and anxiety-inducing - acronym cousin, FOMO (fear of missing out), with an offering of simple pleasures: what if it’s actually totally fine to miss out on all of the things we were told are necessary?

Villagers is a shop for the urban homestead, and homesteading in some ways implies missing out. There are plants to grow, vegetables to can, roofs to repair, clothes to darn, chickens to feed… the to-do list doesn’t always comply with outside plans or activities. A conscious, self-empowered life of actively engaging with what you and yours need to survive necessitates saying “no” to many invitations and, well, missing out.

It can be a daunting proposal when we find that our very passions and values push us outside of the social engagements we’ve been taught to prize. Of course there are opportunities for community, but when you live far outside of town on a mountain somewhere it can be more difficult to participate. Even if you live in town, those chores aren’t going to do themselves.

I used to be the kind of person who lived deep in FOMO. While, as my Villagers colleagues know, I can easily talk for eight hours at a clip, I am not actually a very social gal. I would tend to stay home, but drown in the fear. What if this party, this event, this date that I am missing is THE ONE that will change my life?

The shift to joy has been a slow one, facilitated by both necessity and a hard-won self-awareness. It was, in a lot of ways, a process of forgiveness. I had to forgive myself for not being a social butterfly, and for having priorities that were different than those with which I had been raised. The simple fact that I prefer to be at home, tending my garden, knitting a sweater, writing, or caring for my family, was one that I had to embrace, even though I had been trained otherwise.

Committing to actively creating our lives does tether us in some ways, whether it is to our home or to the journeys our creation requires. For me, the joy in missing out of what once felt like critical events came down to realizing that it was a choice, and a privileged one at that.

I get to choose to stay home in my free time. I choose to curl up with my favorite mug and zines like Fix Your Clothes, learning to tackle clothing repair rather than using my extra time to make more money so I can buy new ones. I’m afforded the opportunity to grow my own food because I choose to live in a place with a little bit of land and a lot of gardening experts whose brains I can pick. I choose to have knitting as my drug of choice, busy hands helping to calm the fear-based mind I was given in this lifetime. These are not choices that everyone gets to make, and recognizing the blessing of being able to select the kind of life I want is a quick and easy way to infuse joy into living it.

The Fear of Missing Out is rooted in a world of scarcity, where greatness can only occur amongst select people in ideal locations, where if we miss those gatherings we will never be able to catch up and achieve our dreams.

The Joy of Missing Out grows from the opposite: a world of plenty, where our time is ours to spend as we choose, and the possibilities for expansion are endless.

With holiday parties and holiday markets and holiday family required activities abound, what are you going to choose? You may find me at an event or two, but my joy comes from missing out on the complex social niceties of the season.

Where does your joy come from?

Comment 1

A-Mo on

I’m not a homesteader, but am trying to simplify my life. For the first year I can remember, I’m not stressing about Christmas. It’ll be small, smaller than I’ve probably ever had, but for the first time I’m content that I have put love and thought into at least one very small gift for all the people I care about, even those I couldn’t afford to celebrate before. I’m also looking forward to looking into that Fix Your Clothes zine and getting pumped for that pile of mending I’ve been neglecting!

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