Watching my Snapchat feed, the green monster inside me began to make an appearance as I saw, what seemed like, EVERYONE at a much coveted event. I tapped through short clips of customised cupcakes, gorgeous selfies and perfect poses. Damn it, why wasn’t I invited? Everyone looks like they are having SO much fun. All those smiles prove it right?
And then a thought crossed my mind. I just got back from a mini staycation with friends and honestly had such a great time! I got to spend my weekend with my two favourite boys in the world and give them my undivided attention, whilst watching Baby Z have so much fun splashing in the swimming pool. Those few memories we created were special beyond any thing else, more so than any event for sure. Even if I was invited, I would have politely declined anyway because we had this planned for a while and of course I was not going to cancel it. I thought Alhumdulillah and put away my phone.
So why did I suffer from FOMO? You know, Fear Of Missing Out?
I vaguely remember preparing a presentation on Living Vicariously whilst I was at college for Theory of Knowledge (Vital part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma).
“The term Vicarious means to have experienced in the imagination through the feelings or actions of another person.”
It was of great interest to me at the time and a topic of fascination especially after researching into it. Fast forward a few years and now with so much of my life on social media, this word (that sounds so lovely to pronounce by the way) comes back into mind. Vicarious.
This blog and all my social media cover parenting and lifestyle. Lifestyle in Dubai mainly, and the latest and most Instagrammable locations therein. By sharing this information through words and largely photographs, I am giving the opportunity for others watching me to live a vicarious life. In the same way, I am living one too as I scroll through my Instagram feed and skip through Instastories and Snapchat stories of influencers with thousands upon thousands more followers. And that’s great right? Sharing information. Ideas. Inspiration.
But when does that cause you to start feeling sorry for yourself? Cause you to forget your own blessings. Cause you to blur your own idea of happiness.
Where do you cross the fine line between living vicariously and suffering FOMO? Where do you cross the fine line between showcasing your life and oversharing?
I don’t have the answer I’m afraid. I am trying to figure it out, but maybe there isn’t one? Or actually there is a different one for all, depending on their personalities and comfort level. That sounds right, doesn’t it?
Personally, of course I share as much as I would like to, without wanting social media to engulf me. There are days or particular events when I want to record every second of everything around me. The are also days when social media coverage is a chore, and I decide not to record anything at all. I am also aware that I am very much blessed to see and experience many things that I have done, but I have worked hard to get here and more importantly, I record it with the intention of sharing the excitement I am going through. To give others the opportunity to live vicariously through my phone. My eyes.
Another factor of course is that sometimes what you see is not what you get. The majority of us share the highlights. The smiles. The moment of patch up after a huge tantrum or the fleeting happy moments just before a huge strop. The perfectly placed products with a background of the perfectly bloomed flowers. The perfect sunset and family hug, not the tears and hundred other photos in the camera roll that it took to get there. It makes us forget the realities of life.
I decide when to press capture and hit record. And I decide to do it when I am happy with the outcome, because that’s just human nature. I do not by any means deceive and always share the realities of parenting through my blog and captions. Trying to take a picture of a crying toddler is insanely stressful anyway, and I would rather be doing all I can to calm him down than ignore his plights.
Similarly, of all those videos you see on social media, those are only snippets of the good stuff. Even Big Brother (or Big Boss, if you’re Indian!), a 24 hours reality TV show, only shows you the highlights because watching every second of someones life would just be too darn boring. Youtube vlogs are the same in that the person only decides to vlog what is entertaining and generally positive content, and most of the time only 20-30 minutes of the entire day. Would anyone be interested in watching 24 hour vlogs? I think not.
To conclude, my point is that the next time you start suffering from FOMO as you skip through Snapchat or Insta stories, take a moment to put down you phone and count your blessings. You don’t have it as bad as the monster in your head makes out that you do. Live vicariously but do not let it engulf you and cause you to feel sorry for yourself. Watch with the aim of reaching there yourself one day, as that will be a moment of much more pride. This is a reminder to me first before anyone else.
But seriously though…Why wasn’t I invited?!?! 😛 Haha!
Also, if you aren’t already, let me just put in a shameless plug right here of all my social media where you can follow me: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat (Username: zenisanj) I guarantee relatable content and stunning views from my expat adventures with an over all positive and funny feel because it is what reflects ME.
So what are you waiting for? Live vicariously, but also live YOUR life.