You know that blissful feeling you get from staying home, snuggled up with a book, and missing out on all that seemingly fun stuff everyone is posting on social media? In case you didn’t know, this feeling has an official acronym now, and it was Dictionary.com’s word of the day recently. Say hello to JOMO or the Joy of Missing Out!
Dictionary.com defines JOMO as “a feeling of contentment with one’s own pursuits and activities, without worry over the possibility of missing out on what others may be doing.”
The term immediately resonated with me when I first heard it in an interview with Catherine Price, author of How To Break Up with Your Phone, on the self-care podcast Forever35. I feel the concept of JOMO probably rings true with many avid readers. The quiet company of book characters is so much more pleasant than bumping up against sweaty strangers in a club!
I like the idea of spreading JOMO to the masses and reminding everyone it’s okay to stay home and recharge. It’s okay to opt for an evening of sheet-masking on the couch with your closest friend instead of fighting for a drink at that hip bar that just opened.
Who better to champion the JOMO message than authors who have written on this very topic? Their words can help folks suffering from FOMO realize there is another way to exist in the world. These authors also have a tendency to talk about reading, which is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in JOMO-land.
Below are quotes from authors who embrace the JOMO lifestyle (some quotes are their own words, some are from their work), including a few who took it to the point of reclusiveness. May their words inspire you to celebrate JOMO as well, or maybe just assuage your guilt for wanting to stay home and read a book instead of going out.
For now she need not think of anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of—to think; well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others…and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures.
—Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
I’ll read my books and I’ll drink coffee and I’ll listen to music, and I’ll bolt the door.
—J.D. Salinger, A Boy in France
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
Reading is that fruitful miracle of a communication in the midst of solitude.
If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.
Many believe that they need company at any cost, and certainly if a thing is desired at any cost, it will be obtained at all costs. We need to remember and to teach our children that solitude can be a much-to-be-desired condition. Not only is it acceptable to be alone, at times it is positively to be wished for. It is in the interludes between being in company that we talk to ourselves. In the silence we listen to ourselves. Then we ask questions of ourselves. We describe ourselves, and in the quietude we may even hear the voice of God.
—Maya Angelou, Even the Stars Look Lonesome
I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself.
—Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
So, now I shall talk every night. To myself. To the moon. I shall walk, as I did tonight, jealous of my loneliness, in the blue-silver of the cold moon, shining brilliantly on the drifts of fresh-fallen snow, with the myriad sparkles. I talk to myself and look at the dark trees, blessedly neutral. So much easier than facing people, than having to look happy, invulnerable, clever. With masks down, I walk, talking to the moon, to the neutral impersonal force that does not hear, but merely accepts my being. And does not smite me down.
—Sylvia Plath, The Journals of Sylvia Plath
with your solitude
—Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey
That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.
—Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake
Frantic photo posting, vapid conversations in too-loud venues, and constantly checking social media do not have to be the way we feel we should live our lives. Let’s JOMO our hearts out and travel through books instead!
Do you have any quotes that celebrate JOMO? Share in the comments!