F*ck Info FOMO (or Dealing with The Info Spaghetti Monster)

FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. The fear that if you miss something, you will miss out on something great. - Urban Dictionary

Having tech in my hand all day long means I can capture every interesting tidbit of information:
  • save it to read when I have time;
  • bookmark that site to peruse it on my bus commute;
  • mark that subreddit so I can browse it over coffee;
  • add that podcast so I can listen to it on my run;
  • save that epub so I can read it over my lunch hour...
Except that suddenly there are exactly 7,929,562,377 unread items when I log in to any app anywhere at any time.

And that sh*t stresses me out.

Because if it's not bad enough that I've got anxiety from the insomnia that's induced by the to-do list that doesn't stop running through my head on any given night, now that list is ever-expanding thanks to all that potential content: All the geeky goodness, nerdy nuggets and other general learn-y type info that I collect on my endless rounds of the Internet.

I mean, let's be honest. That's what I'm really doing with it: collecting it.

I'm certainly not going through it all. I don't have enough hours in a day to read, hear or watch all the things I think are fascinating on the Internet. I mean, I barely have enough time to filter and collect it in the first place.

Which is why one day last week, I finally gave myself permission to reset all of my Feedly feeds to zero. Now, let's be clear: I didn't delete any of them. ARE YOU KIDDING?! Do you know how many hours I've spent curating all that goodness? OMG, don't even joke about that!

Ahem.

No, no. I marked them all read.

Let me be clear: I set those counters back to zero and I hadn't even read them all! And you know what happened? When I logged into Feedly a few hours later, there were new articles. Hundreds of them published since I had last opened the app. New amazing thoughts I might learn from, might get inspired from, might love, might hate.

And I realized how long it's been since I allowed myself to clear a slate like that. That I always had thousands of unread items I would never get to but held on to for... what, exactly? To add to my unyielding stress?

Because that just makes me some masochistic idiot, doesn't it? Did I ever think I was really going to get to that massive backlog? Did I think Mother Nature was just going to bestow me (and only me) an extra few dozen hours each day when I might actually make it through those? No, of course not.

In social settings, I rarely get FOMO. As an introvert, I choose when not to be with people, sometimes for preference, sometimes for my sanity. And I don't often regret my choices. But when it comes to learning, I realized that I needed to do the same. I need to say, F*ck Info FOMO - if I don't read something or don't learn something, that doesn't mean that I will be worse off.*

Someone, somewhere on the Internet is writing something brilliant. And I will never read it. And for my own sanity, I am ok with that.**

*Note: I originally wrote that as "necessarily be worse off" - stupid FOMO.
**I think. Did you read it? Was it good? Ugh. Stupid FOMO.

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