Have you ever heard of FOMO?
It’s an interesting word. It started as an acronym - short for Fear Of Missing Out. A few years ago it transcended being a simple acronym and became a word.
Fear of missing out.
The Oxford Dictionary defines it as:
Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.Oxford Dictionary
Similar But Different
I suggest that suburbia-ditchers suffer a similar, but different issue.
I’m dubbing it GOMO.
Guilt Over Missing Out.
We recently sat around a table with four other ditched families. Some had only been “out” for a few months. Others for 8 years. Listening to the conversation from each end of the experience spectrum reminded me of our early days on the road.
So much to see. So much to do. Historic places that sounded important. Experiences that would look good on a college application.
There was so much that we couldn’t get to. Weather pushed us away. Meetups with friends would delay us in one spot, then we’d have to book it down the road to meet a work appointment.
Sorry, no time to see that battlefield. Or that museum. Or that amusement park. Or meet that family.
Guilt would find us.
Guilt, not fear.
Because of our kids.
Were we doing right by them? Was this really a better life than staying home and putting them in an established, proven school?
Getting updates from back home can make it worse. Their old schoolmates did what? Went where? Got accepted into what accelerated program?
Is this lifestyle choice really about them?
Is this a new wrapper on the old mid-life crisis? A dually diesel truck towing a fifth wheel rather than a shiny red convertible?
If you find yourself suffering from GOMO - take heart.
It’s easy to find other families who’ve been out long-term and see how their kids are turning out.
Imagine the relief a newly-ditched momma of an 8 year old can find by having an intelligent conversation with a confident 17 year old who has been living on a sailboat for 8 years.
Imagine seeing your own child with 5 years of life on the road turn 20. Living off on his own, holding down a steady job, active in church, and considering college.
(Actually, we don’t have to imagine. Our son is now 20. We’re proud of how he’s managed since launching on his own over 1.5 years ago.)
The Ditched Kids Are OK
The more ditched kids we meet, the more confident we are in telling families that this life won’t ruin your kids.
And it doesn’t depend on the choice of RV or boat. Or where you go. Or what combination of battlefields, museums, or National Parks you visit.
I know. We can’t just say “don’t feel guilty” and make it go away. GOMO will find you. GOMO will try to make you feel like a bad, selfish parent.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to families that have been out longer. We’ve all dealt with GOMO. And we’re happy to talk through how we handled it.
Or have you talk to our kids.
Have you felt guilty over what your kids will miss out on because of ditching suburbia?
Leave a comment below and let us know.