FOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT)

Dear Ella and Suse,

Perhaps you have both heard of the modern day ailment known as FOMO - fear of missing out? Sometimes considered the other side of the coin of YOLO - you only live once.

I often suffer from FOMO. Maybe it's because I have lived in quite a few places and so miss these other worlds and the people there. I wonder what my friends from past lives might be up to. It also afflicts me in my immediate environment. What might I miss if I stay in this evening?

So, I'm wondering - do you have any suggestions of literary cures for FOMO?

Sincerely,

Miss FOMO
Dear Miss FOMO,

We were so happy to get your message. We had indeed heard about it – and indeed had heard that many people suffered from it – but as yet no-one had come to us to ask for a cure, and we were beginning to have the feeling that the cures were being sought elsewhere, and that we ourselves we missing out on the experience of being a part of that interaction, and... and... well! Thank goodness you came to us when you did, because we were about to take ourselves off to bed with a chronic case of FOMO each.

Needless to say, our close shave with FOMO gave us time to work out a cure and we are happy to report we are now free of it.

We discovered that FOMO can be cured in one of two ways. The first is to BECOME where it's at – the life and soul of the party, the place where everyone else wants to be; thus passing on FOMO to all your friends and acquaintances wherever they may be in the world, while being rid of it yourself. If you want to choose this somewhat cruel but safe option, read Ragime by EL Doctorow which is all about accepting new inventions, new ideas, new attitudes, new everything – being a Yes person to all that comes along. You will become the epicentre of the energy, and everyone will spin in your orbit. 

If this sounds too exhausting, or you don't want to inflict FOMO on those you love, you need to choose the second option. This is to opt out completely and discover the joy at the heart of an existence which relies on very little. For this, read I was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelssohn, which tells the imagined story of what might have happened to the famous aviatrice if she had not been killed while attempting to circumnavigate the world another time, but survived with her navigator on a desert island. Driven almost crazy by loneliness and frustration, the two castaways eventually discover the pleasure of a life lived out of the spotlight. Their sensual, heady, primtive selves start to emerge and discover that life is very much more satisfying than it ever was before. That, in short, there is nothing TO miss out on in life, except being oneself.  

The life they find for themselves is described with such appeal that it almost gives us FOMO just to think about it... 

Ella & Suse
We prescribe - Ragime by EL Doctorow
I was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn 
  • The fomo is something I felt too for awhile…never let that worry you ..  there will always be something else coming along to do….and the people who don’t see you all the time will miss you and be happier to see you the next time. Don’t let fomo control you….you pick and choose and you do not need to be the social butterfly to be well liked and always having to be out and about. Really!!!  Learn to like being with YOU and liking yourself.

    By Patty on 23 Jun 2016
  • Dear Ella and Suse,

    I have been trying to send you an email with my woes but the online form is not allowing me to do so. Hence, leaving you a message here..I am constantly preoccupied with thoughts of whether I will get married and have children with my partner or whether I will die alone with only cats for company. I have just started a new job and I am doing well and want to establish a career. I have finished writing my first novel but haven’t had the time to revise it and approach literary agents. Much as progressive thinking tells me to stop counting my age, I can’t help but think that I will be thirty this year and thirty-one next year and there seems to be no plan for my personal life.

    By Shyama on 19 Mar 2017

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A SLUG WITH VISIONS OF HUMANITYABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP ENDED, LEAVING SCARSADULT ACNEAFRAID OF FAILUREALCOHOLIC DAUGHTERALONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEAAlways wanted to be a writerANOREXICANXIOUS ABOUT SINGLE FRIENDAT A FORK IN THE ROADAVID READER, LACKING BOOKBEREFT OF A CATBORED IN ALABAMABOTHERED AND BEWILDEREDBRAIN SHRINKING MOMMABROKENBROKEN HEARTBROKEN HEARTED - TORN BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE BEST FRIENDSBROKEN UP WITH GIRLFRIEND; FEELING BURNT OUTCAN’T MOVE ONCANDIDA REVOLTAIRECan’t afford to go on holidayCAST ASIDECHEATEDCHRONIC PAINCOLD HANDS AND FEETCONCERNED ABOUT DAUGHTERCONFLICTED PARTNERSCRAVING FOOD CULTURECYNICAL STEPSONDAILY ABUSEDARK NIGHT OF THE SOULDEPRESSED AND UNABLE TO READDEPRESSED DURING CHRISTMAS, AND LONELY NOWDESPERATELY WANTON GIRLDIRECTIONLESSEASILY BORED WITH NOVELSEMOTIONALLY SABOTAGED BY MY MOTHEREMOTIONS IN EXTREMEEVER THE FRIEND AND NOT THE PARTNEREXTREME ANGER AND FRUSTRATIONFADING AWAYFALLEN OUT WITH MY FRIENDSFALLING IN LOVE WAY TOO FASTFAZED AND CONFLICTEDFEAR OF CONFRONTATIONFEAR OF GETTING OLDFERTILITY PROBLEMSFOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT)FORGING A BRIGHT NEW FUTUREFRIEND WHO HAS LOST A CHILD LATE IN PREGNANCYFRIENDS DAUGHTER LOST TO SUICIDEFrightened of lifeGAPING HOLEGetting over a break-upGIRL OF UNCERTAINTY, BOUND BY RULESGIRL WHO DOESN’T FIT INGRIPPED BY LOSSGUILTY FRIENDHOPELESSNESSHOUSE AND LIBRARY DESTROYED BY FIREI love music more than booksI no longer commute – and therefore I no longer readI PEEK AT THE END OF NOVELS BECAUSE I WORRY THE CHARACTER MIGHT NOT MAKE ITI wish I were famousIN MOURNING OVER LITERARY DEATHSINABILITY TO SIT STILL AND ANXIETYINCONSISTENT AND NON-STUDIOUS- BUT AMBITIOUS NONETHELESSINDECISIVEINSECUREINTERESTED IN EVERYTHING BUT ACHIEVING NOTHINGINVISIBLE WOMANITALIAN NOVEL CURESJILTED AND UNSUREJOB IN LIBRARY UNDER THREATKICKED IN THE HEADLEADENLIVING ON THE MARGINSLONE RANGERLONELY AND DEJECTEDLONELY IN LOVELONELY IN MONOTONOUS JOB, LOSING SANITYLOOKING FOR A SENSE OF PURPOSELOOKING FORWARDSLOSS OF A SISTERLOSTLOW WATTAGELOW-ENERGY PESSIMISMMAD SCIENTISTMARRIED TO A MAN, ATTRACTED TO WOMENMISSED THE BOATMISSING MY MOTHER-IN-LAWMUM GOING BACK TO WORKNEED TO LET GONEW CITY, NEW LIFE -BOOKS FOR 12 YEAR OLD BOY?NEW FRIENDSHIP WITH HOLOCAUST SURVIVORNIGHTMARISH COLLEAGUENOMADIC FLANEURPOST NATAL DEPRESSIONPREGNANT AND ALONE