From FOMO to JOMO
Posted on August 4, 2015 by Sister Carol Perry

I got such a shot in the arm in the summer doldrums when I came upon an article by Dewitt Jones. I am sure a number of us have seen, at workplace conferences, his delightful short film “For the Love of It” which so wonderfully illustrates the simple fact that doing what we do for the love of it can be joy! Now he offers a deeper thought.

Jones, who spent years as a photographer for the National Geographic, offered me some challenging thoughts on living in a world that often overwhelms us with its abundance of opportunities and data and choices. He talks of FOMO, the fear of missing out, which motivates people to run from activity to activity in search of meaning. He calls it living in an abundant world with a scarcity mentality.

As an antidote he suggests JOMO, the joy of missing out. That is the ability to say that “I missed that conference, or I didn’t read that book, and it’s all right.” In that way we can function with a sense of presence and certainty. Then we live in an abundant world with a sufficiency mentality.
He adds the note that we should also have the discipline of celebration. I love his use of “discipline”, something that we need to practice with regularity. This isn’t tooting a horn or sounding the trumpet. It is filling our cup of being by doing things that give us joy and then giving that to those around us. That is the true joy of living.

I can’t say I have fully absorbed the implications of what Jones is suggesting, but it seems to me to be a great way to find a surer footing in this world of too much which often leaves me feeling that I can’t take it all in. As he says, I don’t have to. But I do have to find joy in what is on my plate right now. It’s a bit like making a choice from the restaurant menu, knowing there were other possibilities, but they are not for me today.

I am working on my JOMO, both to broaden my vision and to add to that cup of being so that I have more to share. I can fill only my cup; yours is waiting.

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Sister Carol Perry

A gifted teacher and resident bible scholar at Marble, Sister Carol uses her extensive scholarship and imaginative storytelling skills to offer a fresh and innovative approach to exploring the Scriptures, bringing the stories of the Bible to life.

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