Editor’s Corner: Don’t miss it…

By Amy Forbus

Amy Forbus Editor, Arkansas United Methodist

Amy Forbus
Editor, Arkansas United Methodist

FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. It’s a naturally occurring phenomenon for most of us.

I’ve had FOMO for as long as I can remember. As a child, I hated going to bed because as the youngest in the household, I knew that all the other people there got to stay up later and do very important and interesting things. What would I miss while I slept?

I think FOMO is the reason the practice of channel surfing exists. Why watch one television program when there are so many others to consider watching?

FOMO can grow to unhealthy levels if left unchecked. It may explain why many people find their calendars packed with back-to-back and stacked obligations… because if we don’t take advantage of a particular opportunity right now, will we ever get the chance again? Who can say? Life is short.

It’s why we have DVRs and Netflix and YouTube. And also why we have the ability to access all of those tools through our smartphones. Some FOMO sufferers behave irresponsibly just to ensure they aren’t letting anything get past them (ever read a text message while driving? There’s a clear symptom).

The smartphone itself may do the best job of exposing the most obvious symptoms of FOMO. With that incredible device’s buzzes and beeps and notifications, we can get so preoccupied with seeing what else is happening in other locations that we become oblivious to what’s taking place right in front of us. Such irony: Fear of Missing Out begets Actual Missing Out.

Several years ago, I found myself falling down online rabbit holes so often that the practice began to affect my relationship with my husband. I’m thankful that he called me out on it. The danger hasn’t gone away, but my awareness of it has heightened.

I’m not a big proponent of new year’s resolutions. After all, why wait for an arbitrary date to make changes for the better? But in this new year, I resolve to quit glancing at my computer screen while someone is sitting in a guest chair in my office. Perhaps I’ll even stop picking up my phone every time it buzzes—or every time I imagine that it’s buzzing as it sits quietly in my purse.

God exposes us to the miraculous every single day. Yes, miracles can come through technology, but they also can come walking through your door. They arrive in moments that might at first seem boring or inconsequential. They emerge, if we let them, in the most fleeting glimpses of grace all around us.

And wouldn’t it be a shame to miss out on that?

To reach me, send an email message to aforbus@arumc.org.