The Joy of Missing Out

MOM IRL

The Joy of Missing Out

Rather than succumbing to FOMO after watching scenes of friends dancing on tabletops, our truth-telling columnist is learning the power of JOMO.

Written By Jill Kargman
Illustration Rob Wilson

In this digital age, simply opening one’s phone offers a keyhole into countless other lives, and FOMO has become A Thing. One kid will scroll past a Dave N’ Buster's pilgrimage he didn’t attend, while another laments our lack of country house as her shades-sporting pal floats by on a giant unicorn raft. Smirks with cocktails abound, as do shared platters at hip restaurants, lux flower arrangements and tabletops snapped just before a host’s guests arrive – and you’re not one of them. No calligraphy place card for you, Jackass! In a world seized by the pursuit of happiness, I find mine in missing stuff. I call it JOMO: the Joy of Missing Out.

To me, staying in on a random freezing Wednesday is as awesome as it gets. For one, my kids are now old enough to be fun rather than just shitting their Huggies® or throwing ear-splitting tantrums that make mommy want an eject button and a vat of wine. Secondly, at my haggatocious age, I’m tired as fuck. I now have high blood-pressure and require at least eight hours of sleep. Also: I like to eat what I want to eat. If I go out at all, it’ll be to a restaurant. My rules include a rezzy no later than 8 p.m. (who are these Barcelona-wannabes who chow down at 9:45?!) and a party no larger than six as I have a deep-seated fear of group dinners.

"In a world of douchey dancing-on-tables at Cloud 9 or packing bags for that milestone birthday in Cartagena (WTF is up with that new trend), I’m happier sitting on my couch under a weighted blanket watching from afar."

While I feel it’s very important to support charitable causes, I now bag most benefits. Tickets have become wildly expensive, and the net is much smaller than the gross since organizations are shelling out for space, flowers and rubber-chicken dinners. Maybe they’d sock away more shekels if they sent an invitation saying, “You get a night off! Please donate so you don’t have to come to our gala!” That would do well, methinks.

After being with my husband for nearly 19 years (holy shit, honey), I’ve noticed that marriage has seasons. Some years we went to a million weddings, danced the nights away and relished holiday gatherings and various kiddiepaloozas – from the circus to performance art with bubbles to chasing them around a children’s party at a museum worried that a sticky paw-print would end up on a Picasso. Now, we are in a hibernating phase and embrace hygge, that Sweedish term for all things cozy. In a world of douchey dancing-on-tables at Cloud 9 or packing bags for that milestone birthday in Cartagena (WTF is up with that new trend?), I’m happier sitting on my couch under a weighted blanket watching from afar. Yes, I can’t taste that cheese fondue or take in that rocky-cliff view, but, right now, I’m good with that. Travel experiences are wonderful, but staying home can be just as enjoyable.

"Life as a parent has enough obligations, and now I press that mental eject button whenever I feel like it. Christmas Party too jam-packed? Byeeeee. Movie still shitty after one hour? Sayonara."

I’ve recently noticed that when people respond “no” to an event, they feel the need to add their alibis. (“Oh, sooo sorry I can’t make it, it’s my mom’s best friend’s birthday dinner at Roman & Williams Guild!”) Instead, I just say, “Sadly, I’m home that night.” This is head-scratchy and confusing to some. I go out infrequently, so I’ll usually just say something along the lines of “I’m such a nerd,” “I’m such a tired shrew,” or “I have a date with Trevor Noah.” But I decided that’s over. It’s not nerdy to want to miss out. It’s not “lame” to skip that huge crowded party.

When I turned 40, I made a new-decade resolution: I’m not going to be anywhere I don’t want to be. Life as a parent has enough obligations, and now I press that mental eject button whenever I feel like it. Christmas Party too jam-packed? Byeeeee. Movie still shitty after one hour? Sayonara. And when it appears like that fête on the ‘Gram is a full-tilt rager and you somehow didn’t get the Paperless Post invite, just remember that the room is likely 97 degrees and dotted with people you detest. Embrace the hygge and try and reframe that rager into something you’re fine attending by proxy. Snuggle up with that binge-watch and choose JOMO.


Jill Kargman is a New York-based writer, actress and television producer. Follow her on Instagram @jillkargman.