My Why: How The Fear Of Missing Out Can Motivate You

back of man holding a paint brush with the word "Why?" painted in the sky

Do you suffer from FOMO?

FOMO means Fear Of Missing Out.  While I like to believe that I am above such things, I do have an occasional “attack”.

purple, yellow and orange cake with white frosting and candied stars on a plate with one slice cut

As a child, I remember at a birthday party really wanting a slice of cake with a flower made of frosting.  I was shy, and polite, so I was afraid to ask for what I wanted.  The interior cake slices barely had any frosting – not like the outer edge.  If you won the cake dispensing lottery, you’d end up with a corner piece and flower.  And probably a headache from all that sugar!  I felt a great deal of anxiety waiting to see what kind of slice I’d end up with. What would happen?  I didn’t want to miss out on all that frosting.

I believe most people want to feel included. We tend to avoid isolation, and seek approval and recognition. Simply put, we don’t want to miss out.  Humans do better when connected with other humans (or pets).  Even if you are a loner at heart, it is still nice to be invited to events and not be excluded.

Many years ago I heard about a movie being filmed in my town.

I told a client of mine about it, and she ended up in the film as an extra.  director's slate with the words Universal Studios, laying on a pile of white, pink and black plastic ballsI did not attempt to get into that film.  My schedule was full with clients during the shoot, and I didn’t think I should try to reschedule them.  I don’t think my life would have ended up dramatically different had I pursued that opportunity, but I always regretted it.  I felt like I missed out.  My degree is in Theater, so this type of event was especially important to me.

When I started my Electrolysis business,

I planned on working for 20 years, and retiring early (and wealthy), so I’d have plenty of time to enjoy life.  I have now been working for 32 years, and have not retired (nor have I become wealthy).

My late husband really enjoyed his life.  person on the shore fishing in a lake with mountains in the backgroundHe loved to fish, boat, barbecue with friends and have Margaritas.  He was a hard worker, but he played hard too.  He was generous with his time and money.  He did not like the constraints of a budget.  If he needed or wanted something, he would simply buy it.

I, on the other hand, was somewhat of a financial martyr.

I would go years without buying new clothes.  We didn’t have a dime to spare, and were deeply in debt.  I only spent money on bills and food. pile of unfolded, rumpled clothes on a bed Thankfully close friends and family gave me their hand-me-downs.  They were typically in better condition than much of my wardrobe!  My late husband tried to get me to buy new clothes, but I knew we had no way to pay for them.  I did want nice things, but couldn’t afford them, and felt like I was missing out.

We all have things in life that we want.  I have noticed a repeating theme in business seminars I attend, and books and articles that I read.  The question is “what is your why”?  Why do you have the dream you are pursuing? What makes you tick?  Your reason for doing what you do, or wanting what you want, is your why.

My fear of missing out has moved beyond birthday cake.

I was widowed at 48

and my late husband died at age 51 of a heart attack.  No warning, just here one day and gone the next.  I know none of us are guaranteed a long life. My mom is in her late 80’s, and my dog will be 12 soon.  My boyfriend is older than I am by over a decade.

My new FOMO revolves around spending time with those I love.

I feel guilty every morning when I leave the house and my dog is home alone. two black labs with their faces next to each other, with their chins resting on the edge of a bed She lost her twin sister over a year ago.  I do spoil her now more than ever, but she no longer has her litter-mate to keep her company all day while I’m at work.  I’d like more time with her.


I recently discovered my mom’s father was born in Latvia.

He told her he was born in Baltimore!  He never told her the truth about green, white and blue map, displaying Latvia, and the capital of Latvia, Riga.his past when he was alive.  Mom wants to go to Latvia, but she can’t travel alone.  I want more time to research his past, and find out exactly where he lived.  I never met my grandfather.  He died when my mom was 15.  I want to go to Latvia with my mom while she is still able to travel.

I was fortunate enough to get a second chance in life with my boyfriend.  He is closer to retirement than I am.  I don’t want to lose time with him because I have to work and am gone all day.

These are my FOMO’s.  These are my “whys”.

I’d like to continue to work at my job because I truly love being an Electrologist.  I’m lucky I like my job and my clients.  I would, however, like to compress my schedule so I can spend more time at home.  Being able to shift some time to work from home would enable me to spend more time with those I love.

I want to travel to my ancestral lands.  My genealogy research has confirmed that I have many, many ancestral lands Scrabble letters spelling out the words "Travel the World"to visit! I have been to Nicaragua, but still need to visit Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, and the Orkney Islands off the northern coast of Scotland.  I’ve been to Spain and England, but would like to visit again as a genealogy focused trip.

Whether I’m able to do all this or not remains to be seen.  It would be nice if all the things I’d like to do were not dependent on having more money.  In the meantime, I continue to push forward to get to a financial place where I can attain my goals.  I do hope you think about your why, and give yourself permission to pursue that which fulfills your soul.

And in case you are still wondering, yes, I did get an end piece of cake with a flower on top!

I would love to hear your whys.  Please share with me on my Facebook page at Elaine’s Lane.

Similar Posts