FOMO vs JOMO

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“It’s a FOMO thing”, my new 22-year-old teaching teammate responded.  I had noticed her phone on top of the copy machine as she was running copies for the day and I asked why she had it always within arm’s reach.  “FOMO?” I asked.  Close to retirement, I was not literate to millennial buzz words.  “Fear of missing out.” She responded, not missing a beat. I remembered that feeling in high school and college but now it meant in a social media sense as well.  The whole posting, sharing, liking, commenting, and texting thing was sort of passing me by.

Since that time I have become a smartphone user.  For a while, I dipped my big toe in the world of Instagram and Facebook and I text when needed. As an artist, the word is “document, share, share, share, like, like, like”.  But being a person easily distracted and easily overstimulated I backed off the social media thing.  As a maker who does not have to make a living from my art, now I keep it to a bare minimum.  I am not  ”branded” so to speak. The trade-off is enjoying being in the moment.

The FOMO thing came back to me in another incarnation two weeks ago when I was at Craiceann, the weeklong bodhran camp I attended in Ireland (see my previous post).  After a full day of classes and activities, I was pretty wiped-out. Being an introvert and in my 60s, I need a lot of recharge time and a good night’s sleep.  I knew if I went out to catch the great music at the pubs that started at 9 PM and join in I would be a mess for my classes the next morning.  It was difficult knowing what fun I was missing out on, especially hearing about it the next day from my new friends.  I decided to compromise, making a deal with myself to go out the last evening for some late night fun.

Herein lies the concept of “JOMO,” the joy of missing out (this word was coined some free-time-2040679_1920years after FOMO). When we are so involved with FOMO & social connections we miss out on ourselves.  We have no time to reflect, breath, savor, & notice.  Those nights I stayed in were so lovely.  I wrote in my journal, read, took dreamy walks at sunset and went to bed at a decent hour.  I have no regrets.  The last night I did go out and had great fun out playing in a pub.  I rolled into bed at 3 AM exhausted.  That was a great memory too but I suffered for it during my two days of travel time back to Oregon and had horrible jet lag after.

I’m glad I respected myself with a JOMO mindset during my holiday, not missing out on my own well-being (with that one exception).  Sometimes missing out can offer the greatest gifts.

A view from one of my walks

MISSING OUT

You missed out on all the music

Yes, but did you see the patterns of clouds dancing overhead?

You missed out on all the fun

Yes, but did you see the swallows dart about in the evening sky?

The spotted horse grazing peacefully in the paddock?

The hush of the summer evening?

The sea breeze blowing through my hair?

The long light of midsummer?

Yes, I’m afraid you missed out.

 

For the music I didn’t miss out on click here!

 

 

 

The Art of Play

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” -Joseph Chilton Pearce

easels-372847_1920When I was a child I would sit down with a set of crayons and draw without much intention other than just being in the moment with my colors and paper.  Painting was even better.  There was nothing like afternoons in school where the math and reading were put aside for time standing at the easel with giant paper and pots of tempera paint.  I remember painting with big fat brushes with long handles pictures of skies, big suns, houses, horses- the usual subjects for a little girl.  The paintings I made were often brought home and gifted. There was not a lot of attachment to the pieces as there were always more paintings and drawings to come.

At some grade in school, the easels were put away and we were subtlety given the message that art was not important and academics were.  Art was play, nothing to be taken too seriously.  Good grades, college, and a career were.

Continue reading “The Art of Play”

The Art of Streaming Nature

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Yesterday I was doing my home exercise routine when my zippy Irish music was interrupted on Spotify by one of their ads (I’m too cheap to buy a $ 120-year ad-free subscription).  It was an extra-long commercial about Spotify Premium and the many reasons I should upgrade.  The last one was something like this “Never be without the music you love!  Stream anywhere, even when you are offline!” This got me to thinking why we always need content streaming in our ears?  Have we lost the value of quiet?

img_1744Workout routine done (don’t be too impressed, I don’t work that hard) I changed my clothes and headed out the door with my 13-year-old Golden Retriever for a ramble. We drove to the Benedictine Abbey less than 10 minutes away for a walk in the woods.  They have a series of trails that they allow the public access to.

Car parked we headed off.  It was a relief to be out of the house and in the fresh air, sweet with the scent of coming rain.  We headed uphill on a muddy trail, thick with woods, mosses, ferns, and lichens. The calls of hidden birds surrounded us as Dougie and I made our way up by a gurgling stream with miniature waterfalls.  By gosh I was streaming a real stream! An unlimited sensory experience brought to you by NATURE!

Imagine what I would have missed if I had earbuds in.  I think about the students in high img_1749schools I sub in.  They are constantly with their earbuds, listening to music, watching videos, checking social media.  What about the sounds of birds and the ruminations of their own thoughts? I’m sad for them.

It was a lovely walk. I spent a lot of time observing and looking for ideas to include in my paintings in my new online painting class.  You might see some things from my photographs in my coming artwork….

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I wrote this poem last year while I was subbing at a local high school

Continue reading “The Art of Streaming Nature”

The Art of Taking the Media Out of Social

“Arthur blinked at the screens and felt he was missing something important. Suddenly he realized what it was.
“Is there any tea on this spaceship?” he asked.” 
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The time was set for 2PM on Monday.  Come and make holiday cards at Mary’s Studio.  Bring something to share.  Enjoy a cup of tea.

We individually began to straggle in after 2:15 too tired from all the tasks of the last few days to muster our creative energy.  So we just sat in comfy chairs around a big ottoman to rest our feet with cups of tea and small plates full of nosh.  There we declared our “Women Who Sit Society” and be social without a device.  We shared stories among us, liked our conversations and the food without nary a mouse click.  For a short respite, we were glad to be among longtime friends escaping the fray that occupies all of our lives, especially around the holidays. 

Eventually, we migrated to the craft table making cards with bits of colored paper and rubber stamps continuing the conversation.  There are no pictures of this event.  My phone was happily tucked away in my purse the only picture being a sweet memory left in my mind.

What a blessing to be among friends- in person, with the only expectation to sit and enjoy the company. 
                                                                                                                                                                      

My Escape From Social Media

twitter-292994_1280It all started with my decision to sell my artwork online.  I spent hours setting up my shop on Etsy, learning how to photograph my artwork, figuring out shipping and then posting listings.  Now I began the hard work of self-promotion so that my little enterprise could get found among the virtual soup that contained thousands of others.

My three new “how to” books on the subject all instructed me to start setting up social media accounts, get involved in forums, start posting, liking & commenting on a regular basis.  This activity would eventually lure customers to my site, hopefully to buy.

Previous to this, as a Baby boomer I was quite happy with my life in the tangible world and saw no need to be a party to the social media craze.  Nevertheless, trying to be open-minded, I set up the necessary Facebook & Instagram accounts to start and took the plunge.  I started posting regularly. Unfortunately the prescribed practice of liking and commenting just to build a following seemed very sleazy to me so I dragged my feet on that.  Then there were the apps that will like & share for you. Really? You can buy likes? No thanks.
Then suddenly, a Pandora’s Box of distractions was open to my brain.  My somewhat ADD personality quickly became hostage to this mysterious world on the other side of the screen.  I found myself constantly checking my posts & listings to see how many likes or comments they got. It was hard to tell myself from the other scrollers & tappers that were everywhere I looked. Who was this Pavlovian creature I had become?

Then recently, after over a year of this grand experiment, I realized that this whole exercise was sucking away too much time energy from my creative process.  I had a few online sales but not enough to warrant all the effort. More so, my heart was just not into it & I wanted relief from the distraction.

instagram-1474232_1280It was an easy fix.  I deleted the Facebook & Instagram apps off my phone & IPad.  It took a couple of days for my mind to feel free of the social media sirens calling my name.  I could be fully present again.  My Instagram, Facebook & Etsy accounts are still active.  The difference is that I manage them rather than them managing me.  I peek in twice a week now either post &
then check for responses.

There was one social media platform that was left to me to try- blogging.  About a month ago I put this blog up just to give it ago.  The self- promotion goal I had for blogging instantly dissipated as I rekindled my love of self-expression through writing. What a nice surprise WordPress has been!  Here is this great community of interesting people I can interact with.  Now I am  writing, reading, & commenting on others blogs because I want to, not because I should. This online experience continues to be meaningful in contrast to hollow exercises I had been pursuing on Facebook and Instagram.blk-goddess-front

My Etsy shop languishes as my desire for screen time has waned.  Currently my internet store & social media accounts mostly serve as virtual portfolios for shows I enter.  It appears that I am not cut out as an online entrepreneur. I’ve realized that selling my art in person offers me more  financial & emotional rewards than the world of online commerce can offer. Back to the real world of face to face relationships & writing just for the love of writing. No regrets.

P.S. For what it’s worth,  since you’re here, here are links to my social media accounts…..

Etsy

Instagram

Facebook