Dear Dalitso

Everyday lessons for tomorrow

The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

November 8, 2023
Letter #

A day may come when you must make an important decision such as where will you live, will it be in your country of birth or elsewhere? We live in uncertain times or an era of uncertainty and this is most likely to continue for the next couple of decades. The grass almost always looks greener on the other side. Fun fact though- the other side always remains even when you have crossed to the other side and tomorrow it may look like you have walked away from a place where the grass was just about to shoot.  Many of us have had to deal with the question ‘…should I go, or should I stay’? The second question is usually What am I missing out on by moving or by staying?

These are indeed some of the unsettling questions of our time. Am I in the right place? Is it better here or should I move?

There is no correct answer no matter how many people you talk to or number of questions you raise. There is just no correct answer. At the end of the day, it is literally going to be up to you to make the decision. At times we ask questions when we already have the answers. In many instances your decision on this matter will be influenced by economic question (push factors) and social wellbeing (pull-factors). A very delicate and difficult mix. There is a compelling belief that there are more opportunities outside of your city or country, why not? That’s what we have been told right? We see them coming back now and again and they tell us the wonderful stories of life out there. How it’s much better than here. They rarely talk about the social costs of migration-their loneliness, borderline depression and being constantly broke just like the rest of us.

You will miss out on local get togethers. You won’t be able to attend every wedding in the family or funerals (but that maybe a benefit). Those who remain behind will think you are rich and will send all sorts of requests to you. 

My advice is, make the decision early and stick to it. It’s going to be tough either way. It takes time to settle in a foreign country. If you are going to migrate- do it early in life.  Try as much as possible to stick to the decision you would have made. Avoid being swayed by what others would have decided on. Own your journey in life. Try to live wherever you are, grow a new community, a new circle of friends and immerse yourself in the new place. That is the essence of life. Once that is done don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else.

Resist the fear of missing out. Every decision has a cost and a benefit. Focus and grow the list of benefits for the decision made. Where you are right now is God’s place for you’.

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