Resident columnist Maansi is back for another installment, tackling her fear of missing out one night out at a time
It’s a dangerously repetitive scenario: I’m in the library’s silent study section and the majestic-yet-frankly-grim book mountain that I appear to have created stands tall, my fingers relentlessly hitting the laptop keys as I try to simultaneously type up an essay that has so far induced one too many existential crises (‘what is life?’ is a regular thought staple when you’re an English student), sift through a vast array of dust-covered quotes in order to find one that sounds about as eloquent and relevant as I am not, clumsily reply to that urgent email that’s been loitering around in my inbox for a few weeks and text my mum an ‘I’m great’ before she presumes I’ve gone missing. I convince myself that there is definitely nothing on earth that’ll make me leave my desk that evening, that I’m definitely going to prioritise productivity over pre-drinks, that it is definitely, at least for now, university work, 1; Maansi, 0.
And then, my phone screen brightens in response to a message from the WhatsApp group – ‘Shoreditch tonight, guys?’ – and I’ve sent an enthusiastic ‘yesss’ before I can stop myself, academic plans thrust aside in favour of a blackout and a very difficult tomorrow.
I am the unanimous ‘yes girl’ of everything. It’s inevitable for me to declare that I am ‘going’ to every event under the sun on Facebook (I don’t have the mysterious edge to click ‘interested’ because I don’t possess any chill whatsoever); I’d rather walk on hot coals than risk missing out on a lunch date; and every offer of a catchup is met with a resolved nod, regardless of the deadlines hurtling persistently towards me.
Whereas many struggle to get to grips with spiders or water or claustrophobic spaces, it is my intense fear of missing out – ‘FOMO,’ for you abbreviation-savvy lot – that manages to trip me up. I feel the need to want to be a part of everything, to want to do everything and please everyone, convinced that my refusal to be involved even once will result in the loss of a life-defining opportunity. A sentimental person, the thought of waving away the chance to create potentially life-changing memories in favour of a mundane night in actually worries me; and, I am so aware that what you read next is going to sound far-fetched, but I love the idea that a spontaneous ‘yes’ to an event could turn out to be the very decision that has a massive impact on me, that I’ll look back at said-night and deem it ‘the night that everything changed.’
Of course, my FOMO hasn’t exactly been a great trait lately. I sit here typing up this column frantically having neglected it for a night at G-A-Y and an elusive bus ride back home because, again, I couldn’t say the ‘no’ word. I’m on two different society committees and a member of many more, play a sport, write for a newspaper and my own blog, go out an absurd amount of times a week, present a QMTV show, and amongst all of these things have an endless list of other responsibilities. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. I love how busy my life, I love how I’m always being active and how I cannot remember the last time that my day was described as boring – recently, though, I’ve realised that continuing with my lifestyle could be a little destructive in the long run. The amount of reading I still have to do for the week because of all the coffees I’ve agreed to is an amount I don’t even want to think about, and anyone asking me how my dissertation is going is given a “what dissertation?” following some pain-tinged laughter.
It’s January, and though I mock the army of ‘New Year, New Me!!!x’ resolutes and sip my tea as I wait for them to all fall off the wagon, I am determined to make 2016 a considerably different year, ‘The Year of the No.’ I’m slowly realising that it’s completely fine to not commit to every single plan I’m asked about (to quote Justin Bieber, it’s time to ‘love yourself’) and yesterday’s ground-breaking decision to stay in and order a Dominos was a brilliant choice over recklessly crying in the Queen of Hoxton toilets because ‘I just love everyone so much.’
I know now that a nap isn’t sacrilege, reader; and if that isn’t enlightenment, then I don’t know what is.