We are a generation of people identifed by our tastes and experiences. Not our ethnicity, religion, education or even profession. So it becomes a matter of personal identity to have experienced certain things. To be the person that carries the entire bibliography of a particular genre. To use an artist’s song lyrics as our calling cards. To trade Easter eggs instead of actual conversations.
We build a collage of experiences instead of an identity. We think we are validating these artists, brands, organisations. But we’re holding them up as signboards of our own identity. It may feel like an attack to encounter someone who doesn’t value the experiences we do. And for safety in numbers, we go with the most popular experiences. We allow FOMO to be the prime dictator of our choices.
FOMO (or Fear of Missing Out) is not a good identifier of taste, let alone an actual description of personality. All FOMO does is aid marketers by making you believe that you are worthless, even non-existent unless you consume and espouse their brands. FOMO makes us buy overpriced tickets to shows we don’t enjoy, events we don’t understand and brag about trips we barely cared about. We fear so much being ridiculed for saying this doesn’t work for me. It’s a case of The Emperor’s New Clothes and no one wants to be the honest kid pointing out the emperor is naked.
Consider this. You are not the books you read, the movies you love, the songs you play, the restaurants you patronise. Your tribe is not people who huddle under the same brands, whose money funds the same causes. Your existence is not dependent on what brands show up on your credit card bills, what fandoms enjoy your membership.
You are a person that wants entertainment, learning, belonging, laughter, joy. Your tribe is people who give you that and who receive that from you without an element of transaction. What these mean is your life’s journey to discover and express.
Fear of missing out? There’s no room for fear when you know every moment is an experience.