FOMO V. JOMO

FOMO is a thing. It’s been around for a while—years, in fact. In case you’ve missed it, FOMO stands for “fear of missing out.” Many of us are inflicted with this disorder which causes us no end of stress and angst. Lots of us are constantly concerned about things that are happening without us.

After years of suffering with this malady, it seems some of us are opting out and moving to a much more peaceful avenue. The new FOMO is JOMO (the Joy of Missing Out). In a state of JOMO, people are unplugging their Wi-Fi, turning off their phones, and leaving their i-Pads in the drawer. It’s their way of avoiding burnout and ulcers. It sounds a bit like the era in which I grew up.

Four Hours a Day

It’s obviously much different these days. I’m told that the average person spends four hours per day on social media alone. I have to admit, four minutes on that stuff sometimes is enough to stress me out. Still, FOMO can reign in my life all too often.

It’s interesting to note that some of the big boys (i.e., Google and Apple) are attempting to help people track their digital usage. I’m not sure how many folks are interested, but it might be a good idea to limit one’s self. Sometimes it becomes addicting. Other times, it just seems like a necessity—whether it actually is or not.

It’s not unusual for my lovely Bride and I to be sitting on our front porch in the evening and hearing her comment out loud, “Take a break, people!” She says this because she has her cell phone in hand and notices some of her fellow staffers from her job still texting and emailing about work meetings. I hate to break it to her, but she DOES have her phone in her hand (hopefully to view the latest videos of the grandbabies).

Don’t Leave Home Without It

As a writer, preacher, and family man, I spend a great deal of time on my devices (don’t you just love that term?). If I leave home and discover I’ve forgotten to grab my phone, I become extremely annoyed with myself. I find this rather peculiar considering I never even owned a cell phone for most of my life (even after they had become popular). Now, as the credit card company promoted, I don’t leave home without it.

I’m sure it’s a good thing that resorts are beginning to advertise “digital detox” vacations. I’d like to take one, but I’m not sure I could go cold turkey. If I can’t run to the drugstore without my cell phone, how can I go to a tropical island for five days sans electronics.

As a Christian, I have to ask myself what Jesus must think of the digital age. I can’t really give you a good answer on that one. I CAN say, however, that you don’t need a cell phone or computer to reach God. He’s always been there and always will be.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]

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