The joy of missing out

Photo by Irina on Unsplash

A while back, I was at a nightclub slightly drunk and perfectly content to be in an establishment that encourages bad decisions when I experienced the joy of missing out.

My favorite songs blasted out of the speakers at deafening levels while bodies pushed against one another and drinks were spilled at an alarming rate.

At some point, between dancing and feeling good, I noticed some people on their phones scrolling through pictures and watching videos.

A thought occurred to me.

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I would hate to be bombarded with information about what other people, most of whom I have probably never even met, were doing with their Saturday night while I’m in the middle of enjoying my evening.

I imagined watching my Snapchat feed, or Instagram story, of people who might have been dressed better, surrounded by more people, or doing anything else that indicated they were having a better time than I was.

I was instantly grateful to not have access to that. I enjoyed my night as it was, without comparison or feeling I missed out on something better, something more, somewhere else.

What exactly is the joy of missing out?

A term popularized by authors such as Christina Crook and Svend Brinkmann, the joy of missing out refers to making a conscious decision to disconnect from the online world and experience life in offline mode.

According to Brinkmann, the need to be constantly plugged-in and connected is a result of our consumerist culture that requires us to be constantly wanting more, buying more and doing more, and in fear of missing out on something better and something more if we dare take a break.

The solution?

Practice the joy of missing out by engaging in activities and experiences that are existentially deeper and more meaningful.

It’s about ritualizing your life, developing habits and routines that will make it much easier to focus and to miss out on all the noise and all the distractions.


Read a novel. Dwell on the past. Call a loved one. Indulge in a good movie without checking your phone in-between.

READ: The Joy of Missing Out and the difficult art of doing less
(a conversation piece)

There is a certain kind of freedom that comes from living in the moment.

It is a pleasant feeling of enjoying moments for what they are, and not for how they can be portrayed on social media or online. Freedom from the expectations and feedback, imagined or otherwise, of strangers online.

It is also freeing to not be consumed by the lives of random strangers online, especially while in the middle of living yours.

Without sounding like a total holier-than-though-pretentious byotch, after over two years of living without social media, I find the idea of putting my life for feedback on social media, which I used to do quite a bit, exhausting and vain.

Do I miss sharing the nuances of my day-to-day life and whatever semi-interesting thoughts that enter my mind with strangers and people I barely know? Of course. Do I miss the likes, comments, retweets, and the attention I got for minimal effort? Absolutely.

Either we all suffer from mild narcissism, or attention-seeking is very inherent to the human experience.

But, life is a lot calmer and peaceful without all the noise. It is nice to do things without a pestering need to document my life perfectly online.

Looking from an outsider perspective now, I realize how silly it was to document my life daily, especially given the fact that I’m a regular person living a very regular life.

What is so interesting about a person doing ordinary things, like eating lunch, listening to music or walking on a treadmill?

I can happily miss out on that.

I’m also very content with knowing that I know nothing about the lives of people I don’t know, barely know, or care for, in exception of people I find inspirational and follow on YouTube or read their blogs. 

I’m even happy to be out of the loop on the day to day details of my friends’ lives. If it is important, they will tell me. 

As I always say, email me, so I know it’s real.

Everything else is extra noise. At least, that is true to my life.

Until next time… 🙂

Published by Mehret Biruk

(re)discovering the pleasures of the offline world.

3 thoughts on “The joy of missing out

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