Since ‘Do Pause’ was finished I have started using Instagram, for the first time. As a result I look at things with a different eye and find myself thinking in pictures, which I quite enjoy. So there’s something in it, but even so, I can already feel the insidious creep of ever more frequent connections.
But rejoining Twitter, after months if not years away, made me I realise that I haven’t missed it at all. Nor do I feel I have missed out. My heart leapt to realise that I can choose not concern myself with any of that (with apologies to Miranda of the Do Book Co).
The same goes for media not just social media. I can choose not to read about the recent calamities of the teams I support (Real Madrid and England rugby, for those who are curious). I can decide not to pick over the twitching corpse of their performances, I don’t have to linger on it, or devour every or any analysis.
Blimey, I can even do the same for Brexit. I can choose to miss out, to ignore the absurd twists and turns of political infighting that I don’t understand and cannot change.
The only material effect of this ignorance, will be to limit my capacity to join in conversations about these subjects, but most of those are nothing more than a gesture of dismay (if you will pardon the pun).
In all this, I realised that FOMO has a cousin, JOMO - The Joy of Missing Out. It is a delightful counterpoint. You are not obliged to be up to date. You don’t have to let distant events affect you. There is great joy in not knowing, disconnecting, pausing. JOMO is just as real as FOMO and in one way, more powerful. What I fear I might miss is imagined. But the joy is something I experience directly. The time and attention I get back, I can lavish on people and experiences that nourish me.
This reminds me of a lovely old story, I heard from my friend Suzy Bolt, many years ago. It goes like this:
An old man said to his grandson, 'Son, I have two tigers caged within me. One is love and compassion. The other is fear and anger'. The young boy asked 'Which one will win, grandfather'. The old man replied 'The one I feed'.
Feed your JOMO not your FOMO.