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June 8, 2021

The Aftermath of the Pandemic & my Rendezvous with “JOMO.”

 

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The pandemic has taken the world into a realm of uncertainty and is still making us unlearn our usual ways of leading our lives.

For me, it has been a blessing in disguise, as I get to spend time with my mother who otherwise has been putting up all by herself after Dad passed away in 2018.

I consider this period as a rejuvenescence, which has brought me closer to myself, made me embrace stillness, and be grateful for little pleasures of life. In this one-year time at home, I noticed the flowers in my garden for the first time, made time for sunset and sunrise at the terrace, and spent more time cooking and petting my cats.

Getting locked within a physical space and existing in a new normal of work from home has made me disconnect from digital social spaces and reconnect with myself and the ones I love. This systematic shift has not been sudden, but gradual, due to reduction in count of activities to engage into and also because of emergence of uncertainty in life.

The scope of going out for the holidays with friends is left out, leaving me with ample time to spend at home. Also, being grateful every day for being alive beside my mom is a self-fulfilment in itself. The fast-paced life earlier seemed sorted but only made me jump from one situation to another without fully being in one.

On top of that, it unknowingly triggered me into FOMO (fear of missing out) an opportunity or event my friends had been engaged in; it left me checking my social media feed to find out what my friends were up to in the weekend. This had led me to lead a life of someone else’s under peer pressure, instead of being at peace in my own.

“FOMO,” which got coined in 2004 by author McGinnis, is not limited to a conceptualization of a trigger set off by social media but surely existed way before. I vividly recall, even during school days, me and my batch mates were in this constant competition of taking the highest number of tuition classes, which meant better possibility of scoring better. Instead, a greater number of tuitions only took away our precious self-learning or understanding concepts.

Well, after being through issues at my workplace, conflict with friends, and several therapy sessions later, I realized how important it is to breathe each moment in life. The fear associated with FOMO is because we always tend to live sometime in the future or sometime in the past. That was what kept happening to me in the initial months of working from home.

Gradually, I began to appreciate this inclusivity of making moments at home, no matter how small they were, like waking up to a new bloom in the garden or enjoying a cup of coffee by the rains. It also made me take moments to reflect within, to understand and appreciate the way I am, to accept defeats, and to work harder.

The wiring of the mind changed to self-acceptance, and that was when I embraced JOMO (joy of missing out). The ability to switch off from the world once in a while also made me enjoy my own company. The best part of all was that I got reconnected to my earlier hobbies and could make time for it.

JOMO might appear as an antithesis of FOMO, but they may not necessarily be at two ends of the spectrum. The feeling of being at ease and not in a rush seemed easy, as every one of us was doing it together and not feeling guilty on missing out on anything. But embracing inclusiveness and accepting that we need not be connected with everyone else all the time requires constant reminders and mindfulness practices every day.

Taking note of digital habits, cutting down on replying to every email, and setting realistic productive goals are a step toward individual well-being. It is the only way of completely surrendering oneself in the moment rather than scrolling through unnecessary social media feed and posting selfies for validation. The time can be better utilized for indulging in creative activities related to work, such as building a new idea or even getting back to fun activities, like cooking and gardening.

For me, cutting down on social media, switching off notifications, and even uninstalling apps have made me make time for myself in my daily schedule and engage in mindfulness in the form of yoga, dancing, getting back to my hobby as recording artist, and reading up books from Dad’s library.

The joy is indeed plentiful, but I never feel I’m missing out on anything; rather, I feel I’m closer to life itself.

~

 

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