What Will You Do With Your One Wild, Precious Life? Understanding the JOMO Manifesto

..Tell me, what else should I have done?  Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?  Tell me, what is it you plan to do  with your one wild and precious life?  - Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day” (1992)

You’re reading this as part of my Patreon campaign to bring the JOMO movement out into the world in a more actionable way. One of the gifts I give to all my patrons is a beautiful print of the JOMO Manifesto for everyone to hang, stand, or place wherever they want reminders of the joyful pursuit they’re on.

(Visual designer and JOMO member Melanie Kimmett is working with a local letterpress studio to make these B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L for you.)


The JOMO Manifesto is based on one-on-one conversations and surveys with the JOMO community - individuals all around the world - from over the last three years. Do you see your words there?

It started like this.

And, after five months of drafting, editing and refining, ended like this. (see manifesto below)

Besides encouraging you to join the JOMO movement as a patron, I’d like to explain why I wrote the Manifesto the way I did, and what it all means.

Let’s be the ones who build communities; who know each other’s names.

We are the ones who will reach out to our loved ones before we reach for our phones. We are the ones who walk our streets with ears and eyes wide open, seeking to offer a smile, create a moment of conversation, see the need that needs meeting (garbage to pick up, an elderly person struggling to open a door, a lonely neighbour sitting on their front stoop). We are the weavers. With each act of communion, we are weaving a community.

Let’s be the ones who live every moment of every day present to the world around us.

We listen to the hearts of those around us saying, “Just be here with me.”

We embrace where we are, knowing who we are, who we are with, and what we have is enough. We choose creating memories over consuming content. Anne Lamott reminds us that “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” We choose to spend them well, knowing that every day we are composing a life.

We acknowledge the value of our technological devices; they are helpful tools. We just don’t need them as much as we think we do. JOMO is the counter-movement to our always-on tech addiction. The Joy of Missing Out is a conscious choice to disconnect and experience life offline, knowing that by making space for human connection we are making space for more joy.

Let’s be the ones who embrace our strengths and weaknesses alike.

The pictures are pretty, but the struggle is real. Every day, we see perfectly curated stories of lives that look better than our own. We remember that filters hide the truth. Everyone is human, everyone struggles, everyone is strong and weak, just like us. As Madeleine L’Engle describes the human experience, “Sunside and darkside in collision instead of collaboration.” That is the mystery: we are weak, we are strong, we are sunside, we are darkside, we are up, we are down... we need one another.

Let’s be the ones who savor our experiences.

JOMO is the emotionally intelligent antidote to FOMO. We embrace where we are in life instead of constantly trying to keep up with the Joneses. We choose to be present to our experiences knowing that this moment is all we have. Intentional loving acts like making eye contact, meeting a loved one at the bus stop, and smiling at others has a profound impact on our hearts and our world. We enjoy what we are doing in the here and now. 

Let’s be the ones who waste no thought on what we don’t need.

There’s a wise old saying: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” If we really want to embrace gratitude for what we have and bless others in their success, we must stop comparing.

Materialism sells us on the lie that we are not enough, what we need more than we really do.

Flannery O’Connor said, “You have to push as hard as the age that pushes you.” What is the great push of our age? To consume: more information, more ‘connections,’ more products. How do we push back? By nurturing fewer, deeper connections; investing in fewer, better material goods; and consuming less data because we know we need more than information to make meaning.

Let’s be the ones who would rather feel pain than feel nothing.

We don’t use the Internet to hide. We remove barriers to our feelings by avoiding avoidance.  We do this in community, not in isolation.

Let’s be the ones who value human connection, what is truly real, above all.

We believe that to be human we must remain connected our humanness and to reality. That means knowing what is really real.

Let’s be the ones who choose adventure over regret.

You can have control or you can have growth. Which do you choose?

“The difference between a life lived actively, and a life of passive drifting and dispersal of energies, is an immense difference. Once we begin to feel committed to our lives, responsible to ourselves, we can never again be satisfied with the old, passive way.”—Adrienne Rich

Let’s be the ones who give our loved ones our whole hearts and attention.

We can only grow warm relationships by giving of our time and attention in real time. We open ourselves to wonder and spirit when we release control and are fully present. When we do this, we reconnect to the natural rhythms of the world, our bodies, our hearts.

Vulnerability begets hospitality begets joy. 

We can only love so many people well.

Let’s be the ones who choose love over fear.

We question assumptions. We know wholeheartedly that we’re not going to solve the technology problem with more technology. We choose people over devices. Joy over fear. Empowerment over anxiety. #JOMO over #FOMO.

Do these values resonate with you? Help me build a lasting community around them. Join the JOMO movement and put your intention into the world.

- Christina

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