Project 313 – Post No. 066

I learned a new acronym . . . FoMO. Apparently, it’s a common condition suffered by many of today’s digitally connected individuals. 

For them not in the know, it’s Fear of Missing Out

I’ve done some reading and to me — the amateur observer of the human condition — it seems no different from something I’ve noticed all my life. Meaning, people have a desire to participate in and/or experience events. This desire is especially strong if two conditions are present; if the event is deemed more interesting than one’s life and if the people involved are deemed more interesting than ourselves. Underlying this desire is another desire; the desire for attention and/or recognition. 

I do think the advent of the InterWeb and social media has amped up the FoMo anxiety.

Psychologists and psychiatrists and psy-these-or-others point to studies explaining the behavior but to the simple-minded — me — it seems fairly simple. People are looking to others for validation of their own existence. 

No one is immune to this, but there are degrees. For instance, I can’t claim to be above it all; recognition is a nice thing. It’s why I’m making a half-assed attempt at getting published. It would be recognition of whatever writing ability I possess. It would certainly validate my yet-unproven assumption that I’m “a writer”. 

Where I draw the line — and where many fail to draw the line — is at doing something I don’t like or don’t want to do.

This is a tricky thing. Obviously, if my interest is to get as much attention/recognition as possible, there’s probably no line I wouldn’t cross. So, there’s actually more to it. The “more” is the confidence in one’s inherent self-worth. There is a profound difference between attention as a substitute for self-worth and attention as an affirmation of self-worth.

I can’t touch on this too deeply without going into various side paths and often convoluted exploration of how the mind works. I’ll just say that if you don’t have a sense of self-worth, if you cannot find it within yourself, if you don’t accept your value as an individual, there is no amount of outside reassurance and attention that will fill that void.  

So, where am I going with this? Eh, I’m just shooting the breeze . . . but, I also want to say that what you see on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social sharing sites is often a very sanitized version of people’s lives; don’t judge yourself or your life by what you see on social media because chances are it’s an illusion.

I’m in a place that’s awash with tourists — a veritable paradise, some say — so let me describe something I see every single day. I will see a group — be it a family or friends — and they’re either milling about or walking down Aliʻi Drive. They’re not looking particularly happy, nor are they unhappy. They just are.

Given a mutually agreed-upon signal, they all cluster in front of an outstretched arm that’s holding a phone and all of a sudden, they are beaming. Hands are flashing the “ok” sign or the “hang loose” sign and it looks as if they’re having the time of their lives. Within seconds, they revert back to people milling about or walking down Aliʻi Drive. They’re not looking particularly happy, nor are they unhappy. They just are.

But, at the other end of that phone, someone just got the impression they’re missing out on something amazing and wonderful. The people here have created a false image for their friends (and possibly a false memory for themselves)

Mind you, the people here might be having a good time; they are, after all, on vacation. But, they just flashed an enhanced version of what they’re actually experiencing as they walk down Aliʻi Drive in 90º weather, that feels like 102º, past the homeless people asking for a handout, and just before they go eat at a restaurant that will charge them a premium for a just-average meal. They will probably also photograph the meal and say it was great (unless it has Spam on it, it probably wasn’t any better than food anywhere else). 

You know all those family photos you see of people that look like they have perfect lives? Remember, they’re just having lives. There may be different plusses and minuses to their lives, but without knowing a lot more about them, don’t be so quick to compare your life to theirs and assume yours doesn’t measure up. Most of all, don’t try to copy what you see thinking it will magically improve your life. 

That’s not to say you can’t improve your life . . . but you must approach the effort with an eye to the reality of the world that surrounds us and a realization that happiness seldom comes from outside ourselves and that not being unhappy is not the same as being happy. 

Wow, that’s deep. By the way, if you need help, seek professional help. I’m just making observations for my own benefit. THIS article purports to offer advice. Also, THIS article.

I should also mention you might be a lot happier if you get every one of your friends and your friend’s friends to follow and read this blog and hang on my every word. Donating money might help you all feel even happier. If it makes it easier, I can wear robes and pointy hats and speak Latin and wave smoking pendulums as I gather your donations. 

And now, the photo:

Them things look deadly . . . They remind me of carpenter shark teeth. They belong to the family of rays and I’ve seen (supposed) weapons made from them. I’ve seen weapons that have shark teeth embedded in their edge but this comes ready-made. You just have to wrap the base with some cloth or rope and you have a fairly scary weapon. Again, not from those leaves . . . those would hurt, to be sure, but they’d make lousy swords. 

The joke today is a little dated . . . I mean, does anyone read an actual paper on a train anymore? I’d imagine it’d be a tablet or phone. 

On the other hand, you probably don’t hear “excuse me; are you done with that section?” much anymore. 

People do, however, still take the train, especially into cities . . . because, often, there’s No Parking.

No Parking

And . . . that’s it

Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.

You can read about Project 313 HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, sympathy, or complaining about my life, or asking for help and advice, know you’re likely missing my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor.