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Kate Moreau is "An Expat In Singapore" one of her popular Facebook community groups. You are invited to join Expats In The East (Singapore). A group for all expats on the East - men and women, single or married.

This group is for East Coast residents to share about life on the East - and to seek recommendations and advice. Whilst this group is designed for and aimed at Expats in Singapore, the group will welcome any Singapore residents, or future residents.

Before moving to Singapore, over 10 years ago, we lived in a small town in the South of France. It was a life full of friends and fun times but it was a life without concerts, shows or big social events. Even going to the cinema was a challenge! We were too far from Nice or Marseille, and definitely too far from Paris or Lyon to contemplate any diverse cultural evenings.

Arriving in Singapore was a revelation. There was something for everyone, every weekend. A chance to see live concerts, or Broadway shows, huge social events, catching a film whenever we wanted (and in Gold Class too!), Shakespeare in the Park (and later Films at the Fort, Sunset Cinema) and more … the list of activities was endless. It still is.

And this was before the Facebook revolution. And so, on occasion, we would find out after the event - and make a mental note to try and find out more next year. FInd out how to be on that mailing list.

But, with the explosion of Facebook (and the ease of creating a Facebook event), you realise just how much is going on. And on. And on. Every day. Every weekend. For every genre of diverse interests. Every culture. Every demographic.

And Facebook kindly reminds you of all that is out there. By showing what your friends are doing. What they have marked as “Interested In”. Who’s marked “Going”. What might be of interest because you were interested in something similar. What might be of interest because you liked this Page or that. The generous e-magazines that list everything for you each week and start to feed you that info at the beginning of the week - adding to what you thought you already knew.

And it’s all fabulous.

Well, in theory. (For me, anyway. And I realise that I might be the minority)

You see, I tried do “do more”. See more. Be more. For years. It’s become all consuming.

I tried to cram several events each Saturday and more on Sunday. Whizzing from here to there. Checking in here and there. Seeing and being seen. Afraid of missing the best thing.

I tried to make us a better family by getting us to share experiences that are on tap here, that I didn’t have until I was in my late 30s. I tried to make my children appreciate what they have on their doorstep. I tried to be better. Make our lives better.

But what I learnt was that whilst my kids are truly happy doing stuff as a family, I hear the collective sigh of relief when I decide that maybe we won’t trek out to some Farmer’s Market in the North, followed by a Pet Fair in the West and an Eco Fair in town all on the same day, even if they are interested (let’s not even talk about being politely forced to events that only I am interested in).

And don’t get me wrong. I love the way that they will do these with me just because I asked them to. A big ask from a 16 year old boy (who’d rather be gaming, an 8 year old girl (who doesn’t mind as long as there is ice cream involved) and my husband who just wants to spend some time with his family, regardless, but would be just as happy with us, the dog and a beach.

So, what’s my point?

Well, I have discovered that this called “FOMO” (not to be confused with FML!). Fear Of Missing Out. Wikipedia calls it "A pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent". I’ll be honest, I didn’t think it was a ‘thing’ but this social anxiety was beginning to wreak havoc with my ‘esprit’, this “desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing".

As someone who is known for “being in the know” (in other words I like, actually need, to know what’s going on around me) it makes sense to be the one “doing” too. But what if all of this is driving me a little crazy? I mean I look at my diary for the few remaining weeks of this year and I can feel panic setting in. How can I fit in all the fairs, and the events, and the festive wonders that Singapore excels at and work and spend time with my family? I can feel my heartbeat racing. The fear is palpable. The fear of having made the wrong decision on how to spend time since you "can imagine how things could be different.''

I am not a magician. There are only so many hours in the day. Days in the week. Time with my family. I am blessed to have an incredible home help that gives me a level of freedom that I wouldn’t have if we weren’t a million miles from “home”. But still …. It’s not enough.

But does that mean I’m not enough?

Sometimes it’s a real question. A genuine worry. But I am slowly learning that I don’t have to ‘be’ or ‘do’ to be enough. Not an easy thing for me, as it is my darkest fear. What if I miss something that would have been enjoyed by my family, by me, and I failed to turn up? Failed to RSVP to that one thing that would have made us all happy by creating memories that last a lifetime?

But just maybe that’s it! The thing to realise. Your kids really don’t care where or what or how. All they want is to spend time with you. That’s what makes the memories. The lasting memories.

What is the answer?

To be honest, I think that’s a personal thing depending on how much FOMO is in your life and your head. For me, here’s what I plan to do:

  • Make a visible plan. I’ve resorted to a good old fashioned paper diary. This helps to see just how much you are trying to fit in.
  • Prioritise and limit weekend events.

Attend only those weekday events that you really want to go to (and can really afford to go to)

  • Ditch the guilt. Snuggle on the sofa with your family instead, if that’s what you want to do.
  • Just keep scrolling.
  • “You don’t have to do everything” - my new mantra.
  • Know you are enough. Don’t just say it. Believe it.

And maybe, just maybe, I can really start to enjoy all that Singapore has to offer without feeling like I am constantly drowning in the desire to be everywhere at once. That maybe we’ll survive without going to this year’s Panto or yet another Christmas Fair at another swanky hotel.

Maybe, just maybe, I can relax and make the most of the luxury that is time. The enviable luxury that is time with my family. That I can enjoy without FOMO. Finally.

How about you?

Comments

Rated
8
John
ELITE
206 comments
11 November 2019
I hear your sentiments and understand the pressures associated with FOMO. It’s a good conversation starter and makes us all think. It’s ok to just be. To take time to breath and embrace the moments with our family and friends doing not much at all.. thank you for sharing
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