Monday, January 4, 2010

Le Cinema de FOMO: Up in the Air

"Up in the Air" is a total FOMO movie. Halfway through it, George Clooney's character has to give a pep talk to his sister's terrified fiance, who gets cold feet hours before his wedding. "If you think about it, your favorite memories, the most important moments in life, were you alone?" he asks, even though he himself is a gigantic commitment-phobe who's spent his life running from anything that rhymes with ermanence.

The sister's fiance looks grimly grateful, as if George has just put everything in perspective for him. But, um. Is it weird that when George asked that question, my answer to it was yes?

Certainly I haven't been alone for a majority of my life's best moments, but a few of those that I treasure most--an evening in Cambridge 10 years ago, a daylong walk on the Isle of Wight in 2008, a three-day trip to Dublin, Stateside afternoons on beaches and among books--were ones that I made solo.

That's the thing about FOMO. Curing it is not just a matter of realizing that oh yeah, company and commitments are way better than solitude and spontanaeity. Sometimes the latter are deeply fulfilling too. No matter what, you have to miss out on something in the end, and you always wonder about the party or the concert or the person you've turned down. Or at least I do!

That's why I didn't think the movie had such a sad ending. Clooney's character is forced back onto the path of solitude, but he's rejuvenated his connections to family and it really that bad? Maybe I'l feel differently if I ever catch FOMOOB (fear of missing out on babies).

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