FOMO, Get Tos, and Real Success

by Christina Hubbard. This winter FOMO and I became fast friends. Two-thousand seventeen left and 2018 entered quietly as I succumbed to the ick. Instead of partying it up with the fam on New Year’s Day, I watched PBS travel shows while I huddled and shivered under a blanket. Keep reading for giveaway info.

FOMO or fomo: 

nounSlang. a feeling of anxiety or insecurity over the possibility of missing out on something, as an event or opportunity

Two weeks of sickness, a reprieve, and then the flu hit. Over the next three months, I spent the total of an entire month either being sick or taking care of someone who was. (I added it up.)

This winter the world officially passed me by.

A Bad Case of FOMO

FOMO is short for the “fear of missing out.” When we can’t keep up with the world, racing at its frantic pace, comparison and a general feeling of uselessness can overtake. An injury lands you on the couch. Winter blues hit. The kids are out of school for another day off. Life happens. Sometimes it feels like the universe is doing its darndest to ensure you will never finish that house project you’ve been slogging through.

Cooking show binges and Netflix do not heal feelings of worthlessness and unproductivity.

Hopping onto Instagram and scrolling through friends’ seemingly amazing lives doesn’t help either. Social media is not real life, and we know it. Yet we scroll, enforcing the soul dissonance.

Even when we stay offline, less-than thoughts still have a way of entering.

Thoughts like…

  • How can I keep up?
  • Rest is for the weak.
  • I’m so behind!
  • Somebody’s got to make dinner.
  • Who is going to take care of all the things?

We’re doing exceptionally well to simply exist, but it feels like the world is passing us by like a bullet train.

FOMO, Speed, and Addictive Affirmation

Fear of missing something important is what drives a lot of us. Has so and so posted anything lately? OMG, I have no idea what is going on in the world! I haven’t read a blog post in months! We get on the interwebs and everything we can’t do or participate in is crystal clear. Comparison settles in.

Speed also contributes to FOMO. So many of us are used to going, going, going all the time. Sitting still and doing what seems like nothing feels like someone has wrapped us in duck tape. Going fast and strong constantly primes us for a false sense of productive identity and affirmation.Tweet This

Likes come from social media and people giving us high fives and dollars for things we’ve done efficiently and well? They’re awesome, but they’re also addictive. They stir in us the longing for more, the kind that can never be satisfied really. We become chasers of things which were never meant to last.

We’re approval junkies who long for another hit, but the only cure is recovery.

What’s a body to do?

We could power through. Keep going until we crash. From personal experience, I can say that chugging Dayquil and telling yourself it’s all going to be over soon is not the magic sauce.

Let’s be clear: none of us can keep up with the world and not one of us should. (Especially when life throws us a snowball for Easter!)

When you can’t keep up, need a rest, or get sidelined by life happening, there is something you CAN do. It requires absolutely nothing. Warning: if you’re a hustler, it might demand everything.

It’s a beautiful little word: RECEIVE.
  • RECEIVE grace for your inner superwoman.
  • RECEIVE understanding for your drive to overachieve.
  • RECEIVE self-compassion for not doing it all.
  • Let others lift your load. Ask for help and take it gratefully.
  • Remember your finiteness. The world doesn’t depend on your hustle. Can I get an amen?
  • This is time for you to think, to remember you don’t have to compete to be worthy.
  • RECEIVE slowness and healing. Recuperate. Restore.
  • RECEIVE the blessed reminder to be still and small.
  • Recover your life.
  • Recall your GET to’s.

What You Get To

GET TO: noun, slang. Tasks and circumstances viewed as a privilege or blessing because we get to do them. But we often take them for granted because they seem small or insignificant.

Just when spring was springing and staying well promised to blossom into reality, I broke my foot. It happened hours before I was to throw my sister a baby shower. Now a boot and crutches help me get around rather skiddishly.

What takes five minutes now takes fifteen. I plan my route through the house and remember to wear clothes with pockets to help me carry my phone. I can’t cook dinner, prep a bath, or get the mail without help.

I’m learning to receive and let go. Naturally, I thought I was over my winter FOMO. Turns out, sitting with a propped-up foot messes with one’s mind in serious ways. At night, I’ve had several good cries on the matter.

Recently, I’ve watched writing friends release books or get published in literary journal after journal. I’ve had to cancel classes and a writing conference. I’ve succumbed to comparison and self-defeating thoughts.

Move on to Better Things

When FOMO hits, it’s easy for resentment to build and pity parties to have their way with us. When receiving the gift of self-compassion proves tough, try get to’s.

Get to’s turn what we can’t do into what we can. They shift our perspective from what’s not to what is. A dose of gratitude. Get to’s open our eyes to what’s good.

FOMO fades when I get to:

  • Snuggle up with my son to read The Lord of the Rings.
  • Help my daughter brush her hair.
  • Receive a cheesy, heavenly casserole from a new friend.
  • Understand someone else’s disability firsthand.
  • Teach my kids how to be helpers with gusto.

Real Success

True success is not the hustle. It’s not the have to’s and want to’s. It’s not attaining lofty goals, getting ahead, or even winning approval by what you do. Success is aiming your life with purpose and integrity. It’s serving God and others. Success is using what you’ve been given today to make the world more beautiful.Tweet This

Sometimes it is giving, and, sometimes, more often than we’d like to think, success is receiving humbly.

When FOMO Strikes, Remember

  • Move at your pace, whether you’re a bullet train or a sniffly blob recuperating on the couch.
  • Admit your humanity.
  • Discern what is necessary today.
  • Remember the value of rest.
  • Honor quality over quantity.
  • Enjoy a break from media noise. Ask yourself why it’s your default.
  • Listen to what your body and your life are telling you. Tweet This
One day we are strong, the next we are weak. This is real life.

We don’t have to fear what we’re missing. We don’t have to do more to be more. Comparison kills our creativity. Let’s choose better. Slow down. Take care. Rest up. We’ll have more perspective, energy, and clarity for tomorrow.

Do what you get to, and do it with love.

Giveaway (This giveaway has ended.)

One of the best ways to fight FOMO is to celebrate friends’ successes. Today I’m giving away a signed copy of Kate Motaung‘s memoir A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging. She tackles the questions of, “Where is home?” and “How do we find hope in the midst of pain?”

Her story travels from Michigan to South Africa and back. I know Kate personally and her story intrigued me from the moment we met. She’s the real deal, on the page and in person. Her memoir shows us redemption rescues, even in the messy parts of our stories.

To enter, share your get to in the comments.

Giveaway runs from April 3, 2018, 4 p.m. CST through Tuesday, April 10, 2018, at 4 p.m. Winner will be identified in the comments. The winner has 36 hours to claim their book by emailing their mailing address at, otherwise, a new winner will be chosen. USA and Canadian entries only.

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April 3, 2018