Where “FoMo” is the fear of missing out, “MoMo” is the mystery of missing out. I can’t help but roll my eyes at this a little bit but I am certain in almost every culture there is the sentiment “do not covet they neighbor,” unfortunately we live in a world that demands we keep up with the Kardashians.
Rose, 24, told the Telegraph, “I have my favourite Instagram profiles I like to check daily. If they go quiet I get MoMo for sure.”
MoMo, happens when your friends stop posting on social media but you know “deep down” that they are out doing cool stuff without you. They’re having so much fun that they don’t even have the time to update their statuses. Mindy Kaling is basically the OG MoMo.
The reason I roll my eyes at this is because it’s petty and immature to envy the experiences of others especially when the handpicked photographs of somebody’s life that is perfectly staged to convey the most fun, most beauty and most happiness are constructions, fabricated to look aspirational. Whether it’s our intent or not to create an image of aspiration it is always the byproduct of a great photo because, well, we all really want to be happy and have a good time. However, when I see my friends having great fun instead of “feeling bad” I typically feel happy for them. Yes, sometimes, I wish I could have been there but I want my friends to be happy and I know that my happiness isn’t contingent on whether or not it looks good in a photograph.
On the flip side, I completely understand how having people’s awesome-looking experiences thrown in your face all day can add insult to injury when you’re already bummed out. Especially if you’ve already been craving or yearning for the things that other people seem to have. As a culture we are constantly bombarded and teased with images of unattainable happiness. This car will make you happy, too bad you can’t afford it. This Chanel will make you happy, too bad you can’t afford it.
College is going to be so fun, full of parties, sex, love, growing, friendship, the most important years of your life, too bad that wasn’t your experience, too bad you can’t afford to go to college, too bad everyone is doing all those things you saw on TV without you. It’s a dreadful feeling, sometimes even a chilling thought, that other people, for apparently no reason, have access to all the things you want and you don’t. I am not above MoMo or FoMo either.
I walk around NYC, which, like most cities, has extreme poverty and extreme wealth often right next to each other. I look at the condos with their perfect views, gorgeous balconies, rooftop pools. I see the people in designer clothing walk into those apartment complexes with doormen and elevators, and I wonder—what is it like? What happens in that world? I’ve lived in New York City my whole life but there is 90% of the city that I will never have access to because I will never have that much money. I am not even sure if that is the life I truly want, but I want to know. I want to know what it’s like but instead I settle for episodes of Gossip Girl and Sex and The City.
While it’s perfectly normal to feel left out at times, to want to have shared experiences with others and to want a peek at lifestyles that seem exclusive and closed off, the reality is there is someone constantly checking your profile and thinking, “If only . . .” There will always be limitations outside of our control that restrict the kinds of lives we have but that doesn’t means our lives, each and every one of our lives, aren’t aspirational in their own way. Coveting other people doesn’t do any good, it doesn’t change anything, so try something new, be happy for them and be happy for yourself.