Sunday, March 6, 2016

FOMO & FORO vs. a focus on acquiring & experiencing what we truly need

I was recently introduced to the term FOMO (I know, I must have had my head in the sand LOL) and decided that fear of missing out is so close emotionally and in terms of habits to fear of running out (FORO).

Anyone who was raised by a depression era survivor parent knows all about stockpiling to avoid FORO. Excess quantities of food in the pantry and freezer. Saving lots of jars, bags, etc. Buying in quantity especially if the item is on sale or 2 for 1. These habits often got translated and expanded to the next generations and as our homes also expanded in size and/or we started worrying about the likelihood of income loss due to job loss or retirement, we acquired even more.

Instead of acting on the healthier FOMO activities of travel, expanding friendship circles, learning new skills or other ways to avoid the fear of missing out, we may have stocked up on material goods. Even someone like me who hates clutter and tries hard to keep everything organized (its my obsession, sorry) succumbed to stockpiling toiletries, buying the same clothing item in multiples and other things related to FORO.

It was easier not to do when there were 4 of us living in a house half the size of the one now occupied by just 2 of us. As an aside, it is interesting to me that both my sons and DILs live in homes much smaller than ours although they do like their stuff too.

I have been quietly working on breaking the FORO habit. Toothpaste? It is always readily available and really doesn't cost much so 1 in use and one as back up is certainly more than enough. Garbage bags? Put that on the list when the stock gets low (although perhaps I let it get too low this week but recycled grocery bags will fill the gap).

This isn't a storage issue for us but for me it is a mindset issue. I have plenty. More than enough stuff to be honest.

What I need more in my life is not stuff. Rather it is travel, friends, learning and health. A work in progress.


  1. I grew up with two depression era survivor parents. We didn't have FOMO or FORO. We had GUDW -- Get Used to Doing Without!

    1. LOL, we did a lot of that too although somehow most of our wants were met as we were trained to be happy with what was available. I think my parents started stockpiling once money was more readily available and they weren't living paycheck to paycheck.

  2. I didn't really grow up with FORO or FOMO but I know that it will definitely seep deep into your subconscious. My sister saved all of her blue jeans for millions of year. She always had a fear that she would need them some day. I tried to rationalize that her body would not be the same even if she became that size again and she said she knew it but she needed to keep them to feel secure. So I guess you can have that gene even without depression era parents. Better to be a saver/user upper than wasteful I suppose.

  3. My mother kept things "just in case" but she also raised a family during the Depression in Kentucky. My husband likes to keep a supply of everything ahead. I probably wouldn't stockpile as much if it were just me. His mother was definitely not a "keeper"...she would throw things away and then go out and buy it again...oy...