By which I mean, both, I haven't been here for over three years for which I do beg your pardon, and also, pardon me, what on this unprecedented new version of Earth does "EOOI" mean?
Allow me to explain only one of those things, starting... now.
Forget the hiatus; we're talking FOMO
We've heard of FOMO, surely? If you haven't, the irony of my implying that you've been missing out on it is, well... *chef's kiss*.
FOMO — the Fear Of Missing Out — is a familiar concept. A familiar place. As an enneagram 4, there's a kind of delicious melancholy inherent in the sense of otherness that comes with "missing out", you know?
FOMO is a focus on lack.
But if God is my Shepherd, and I shall not want/lack, then what place does FOMO have?
Two steps taken concurrently
I came across the concept of JOMO — the Joy Of Missing Out — long ago. I didn't really like it. Fine for other people, maybe. But for me? No thanks. I'd like to not miss out, not just miss out and be fine with it. Weirdos.
An Insta post with the following quote did a lot to shift my thinking:
because wherever I am
and whatever I'm doing
is where it's at."
I mean, yep. Perfect! Right?
At the same time, I was starting a new year and looking for a new - or renewed, at least - sense of focus and direction. It was late December, then early January, and I was finding it uncharacteristically hard to pick a theme or a key scripture or any goals at all for the coming year.
That coming year was 2020.
The one thing I did come to was a single word:
Equanimity: calmness and composure in difficult times.
Equanimity: an even-minded state or tendency.
Equanimity: calm within the storm.
I came to it as a suggested focus word for the year for type 4s. And hey, the shoe fat. Fitted. Foot. As an effusive 4 who takes every experience in deep, the idea of equanimity - outwardly and inwardly - sounded like a well-placed challenge, and I was up for it. I talked myself into some "healthy type 1" themes to feed into that aim for equanimmity - namely: Action, Structure, Commitment, and Resolve. I had a whole diagram to support my workings out. I was good to go.
And then, 2020 happened. The meandering journey to find focus and goals suddenly made sense. What goals could I possibly have set in January 2020 that would have still held any sense or relevance even three months later?! Certainly not Action, Structure, Commitment, or Resolve!
But 2020, as it turned out, was its own (unforeseen, unexpectedly effective) voyage towards equanimity. Lockdowns and online school and international madmen and mandatory face masks and border closures and zoom meetings and doomscrolling and three visits to a testing centre and everything being constantly cancelled and continual global tragedy, as it turns out, is a very effective petri dish for inner change.
Is there anyone it didn't change?
Hence the phrase, and its highly pronounceable acronym, that came to me today.
Forget FOMO and JOMO - 2021 is all about EOOI
It's a catchy little acronym, I know. It stands for
the Equanimity Of Opting In.
2020 slowed us down. The continual rushing, the glorification of busy, the culture of lifelong hustle - all that I was opposed to, but part of. It was the bathwater that 2020 threw out, along with the baby that was our illusion of control.
When I talk about "Opting In", I'm not talking about opting back into all of that. Ick.
This is what I'm talking about:
This morning I put my head-coldy six-year-old into the bath. He played for ages, content to lie back and listen to the water around his ears, chase the dried jasmine petals that came in the bath salts, and munch a damp muesli bar, at his leisure. Eventually he called me to say he was done. We took care of the washing part of the bath, then he pulled the plug.
I stood there, towel in hand, while he watched the water corkscrew loose petals down the drain.
I heard myself hurrying him up.
I was waiting. (I had nothing urgent to be doing.)
He'd get cold. (It's a thirty degree summer's day.)
He'd said he was finished. (But then something fun had started happening.)
I was being impatient. Because I was bored. Because I was choosing to opt out, and it wasn't fun.
So I opted in.
We laughed at the petals spinning down the drain.
We gasped over the ones that got caught at the plughole, as if one of us wasn't fully aware that they were caught on the corpse of a daddy long legs I'd been hoping my little arachnophobe wouldn't notice had been trapped under the plug the whole time.
He did a slippy-feet dance, and even though it meant he stopped halfway through turning around to be wrapped in his towel, it was a really cool dance.
And it was really quite okay.
This was equanimity.
Waiting five extra minutes on a lazy Friday for a child's joyful bath to end isn't exactly the dictionary definition of "difficult times". But it served its purpose, which was to whisper (scream-whisper) into my ear, "Notice this. This matters."
The sentiment behind the "No FOMO" quote is right. Not because I'm so awesome that I turn where I am and what I'm doing into "where it's at" (I GUESS), but because where I am and what I'm doing is already awesome. It's just my job to notice it.
The concept of JOMO suggests that it's better to be not doing that to be doing. I'm wholeheartedly into the notion of finding joy in any situation, even if it's not the situation I was looking for. That's cool. But joy at not doing misses the mark.
So, I present EOOI. It's got the desire for involvement of FOMO, the joy and contentment of JOMO, and the... well, the equanimity of equanimity.
because wherever I am
and whatever I'm doing
there's joy to be found.
Action, Structure, Commitment, Resolve?
The Action is whatever I'm doing. Maybe it's watching my son poke a petal and not notice a spider. Maybe it's being on shift instead of hanging out with friends. Maybe it's eating the last cookie when the kids aren't looking. (After all, it's not always "difficult times".)
The Structure is this: Pause. Opt In. Find Joy. Repeat.
The Commitment is: that I'll use this new model to replace those earlier models, until something better comes along to take its place. That's all.
The Resolve is this: I will. Except for when I forget. But then I'll remember. And except for when I don't want to. But then I'll remember that I do. And so I will.
It's your dear old buddy, Poif Jr.
*And don't mention the spider** in the plughole.
**And I do know that a daddy long legs is not technically a spider. Okay? Don't @ me. I have a type 5 husband and two sons in my household. I do be knowing.