Think about what you were doing at this time last year—before we were aware of an impending pandemic that would unexpectedly change many aspects of our lives in the year to come. How packed was your calendar? Were you simply hoping for a little breathing room between year-end work deadlines, last-minute shopping and errands, and attending holiday gatherings with family, friends and coworkers? During the holidays, all of the additional obligations and commitments that we layer on top of our already busy schedules can make this time of year feel a little frenzied—at least during what we now refer to as “normal” times.
In 2020, most of us will not be hosting or attending holiday gatherings outside of our own tight bubbles. Many will limit shopping to online purchases, attend religious services online, and ring in the new year by toasting family and friends via their phones or laptops. How families choose to celebrate the holidays and uphold long-held traditions will vary greatly this year, due to a number of factors from each individuals’ perceived health risks to local and state government guidelines and mandates. While we may miss much of the hustle and bustle of the season, that “loss” may result in a gift we didn’t even know we wanted—an opportunity to focus on and expand our horizons by embracing the joy of missing out (JOMO).
In an article for Psychology Today, author Kristen Fuller, M.D., describes JOMO as the emotionally intelligent antidote to FOMO (the fear of missing out). JOMO is essentially about being present and content with the decisions you make for your life. According to Fuller, “You do not need to compare your life to others, but instead, practice tuning out the background noise of the ‘shoulds’ and ‘wants’ and learn to let go of worrying whether you are doing something wrong.”
In other words, making sure you’re living your life in a way that feels authentic to you—not compared to others in your orbit. While FOMO is largely driven by the need to feel included, JOMO gives you the freedom to follow your priorities, which can open you up for deeper connections with the world around you and the things that bring you the most joy.
For example, I’m really passionate about getting as far off the grid as I can, spending time in remote places, surrounded by nature. Experiences like climbing a 14-er in the Rocky Mountains or encountering a wild bear, just feet in front of me, while fishing on a pristine river in British Columbia, have allowed me to connect on a deeper level with the natural world. That’s something that feeds both my soul and my appetite for adventure. I thrive on experiences that make me feel truly alive in the moment, that remind me of how powerless we are over the forces of nature, but at the same time, how powerful our life force is when nature challenges us.
I also get that spending the night in a tent on a frozen mountainside or encountering a hungry bear with nothing but a fishing pole to defend yourself with, is not everyone’s idea of a good time. That’s why following your own compass is so important. We all experience JOMO in different ways and for different reasons. For some, JOMO is simply about finding joy in what you have, rather than what you don’t. For others, it’s the ability to say “no” without regret to certain obligations or experiences that don’t add value to your life.
Embracing the experiences that bring the most joy to your life, not someone else’s idea of what you should aspire to be or do, enables you to live more intentionally. That’s something I always stress when working with clients. Often, those with the most flexibility are the most concerned about spending money on the things and experiences that could further enrich their lives today. Many are successful business owners who have worked hard throughout their lives to amass wealth and create something of value that they can hand down to the next generation or sell when they retire.
Those who have experienced lean years during the early stages of their business cycle tend to be especially conservative about spending money on themselves now. If you’ve ever experienced financial loss, you know what I’m talking about. The emotions that accompany loss can have a lingering effect, making it hard to recognize abundance and the opportunities it presents in your life, no matter how much money you have now.
Understanding what’s possible in your life
As a financial advisor a big part of my role is to help people understand what’s possible in their lives. That includes how they can use what they have built to live life to the fullest today, while remaining on course toward accomplishing their future goals.
Understanding what’s possible at any stage of life begins with a comprehensive plan to map out where you are today and where you’re headed. Working with an independent financial advisor can provide the insight needed to help replace fear with confidence, through access to objective advice and guidance and the resources and expertise required to develop solutions to more complex situations and challenges. A comprehensive plan that is stress tested against thousands of possible scenarios and that relies on a disciplined and repeatable investment process for managing risk can provide the confidence that you can accomplish the full range of goals you have set for yourself and your family. Most of all, it can help you live life on your terms, without regret for passing up experiences you could have enjoyed or memories you could have made.
Hopefully, in 2021, the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine will bring a return to something that resembles pre-pandemic norms in the coming months. While we remain hunkered down in the short term, consider spending some of that time thinking about ways you can expand your life experiences by embracing more JOMO in the months ahead. Are there relationships and activities you miss or people you want to reconnect with? What about those you don’t miss? Is it time to cut some people, activities, or habits out of your life that are not helping you move forward and make room for those that do? Remember, you don’t have to climb to the summit of the highest peak to find your JOMO. It’s about being present in the moment and confident in your life choices.
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