Do Single Baby Boomers Suffer From F.O.M.O. and Y.O.L.O.?
You’re sitting at home scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or any of the many forms of social media now available to you. Your smartphone chimes and there’s a picture of your friends at in your favorite restaurant making a toast with a glasses of wine. You may experience disappointment, jealousy, and perhaps some resentment. Why weren’t you included? It doesn’t occur to you they may have just run into each while at an event and stopped into your favorite hangout for a drink. When they posted the photo the possibility of hurting anyone’s feelings didn’t even cross their minds. Remember that the next time the green-eyed monster rears its head.
Do you suffer from F.O.M.O (Fear of Missing Out) or Y.O.L.O. (You Only Live Once)? The meanings differ somewhat, but the idea behind them is similar. Millenniums claim these acronyms, but they’re comparable to the Baby Boomer’s slogans “Live for today.”, “Follow your dreams.”, or “Keeping up with the Jones.” Baby Boomers who were born between 1955 and 1964 are considered a splinter group of Baby Boomers called the Jones. They coined a word called “Jonesing”, slang for a longing or craving.
Let’s think about your reasons for these feeling, and how they can damage or make our lives better.
When we were young, most of us experienced the disappointment of being the only one who wasn’t invited to a birthday party. Even if you were the most popular kid in class back in the day, there were reasons why you didn’t make the list. The birthday boy or girl may have been told by their parents that 10 was the cut-off for a party in their home. Those feelings don’t change as we get older. We just learn how to control our reaction and not let them take over our lives. People who post happy family photos on holidays and other special occasions upset some single Baby Boomers. In this day of families living in different parts of the world, we often celebrate holidays and major life events alone. Even if we enjoy living alone, there are times when we envy our more connected friends.
We do have the option of “unfollowing” or taking more drastic measures and “unfriending” people online. However, Facebook and other platforms weren’t created to do damage. Even though the news is full of incidents of people who are cyberstalked or harassed by bullies, the reason these forms of communication were created was so people could use social media to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances they can’t interact with on a regular basis. They also allow us to share ideas, photos and videos of events and issues that interest us. The world appears smaller and friendships are kept alive when people are able to connect online. It’s less time consuming than a letter or phone call and allows you the opportunity to share with a group of people at one time.
There’s another aspect of F.O.M.O. and Y.O.L.O. that we need to consider. When friends post pictures or tweet from exotic locations and brag about their newest acquisitions, you may feel like you did when you received a Christmas letter from an old friend who shared news of their perfect child’s graduation from a prestigious university and their cruise to a tropical climate. Disappointed with your life back then you said, “I should cash in my 401K and send my children to a private university.” or “Forget about the bucket list. I’m doing this now while I’m still young enough to enjoy it.” Then as you got older, you saw your acquaintances drop dead in their 50’s or succumb to an illness, so you decided that retiring early and buying a home on the beach was the way to go. Later you found yourself out of money and a greeter at Walmart, because the expected inheritance from your parents didn’t last through their retirement.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t find your passion and follow it or help your children, if you can afford it. Just keep in mind as you watch “International House Hunters” and similar programs that you may not be able to afford a second home. Also, your kids and grandkids may not want to spend every vacation there once you’re not paying for their air fare. There’s a good chance that if you take care of yourself you may be around for a long time and healthy enough to enjoy travel for many years to come. Although I’m a believer of enjoying life to the fullest, I’m planning on having enough money to last through my retirement.
Continue your adventure, but be realistic.