Death and FOMO

The Shock

A friend of mine since secondary school has passed away last week. We have been sitting together on the same table (only the 2 of us) for a whole year. So much laughter and so many class rules broken. After high school, however, we have sort of gone down different paths but in my mind, he was still always very close. Always smiling and talk a lot. That’s him.

Pains in my heart thinking he is still too young, in his early thirty’s, just like me. Why? When? How? Just happened that I had disabled my Facebook newsfeed months ago. The news, hence, has broken down to me really late. Tearing up slightly when joining his funeral. I don’t feel having enough time to comprehend how it was happening. I remembered coming home that day slight feverish. That whole night passed, blurry.

He’s left, but his smiles stayed for all of us. The life and the impact he has was tremendous.
I hope he have found peace prior to passing because of the wonderful life he has.


Today, a few days later, still being stuck at the comprehension of his passing, I just somehow remembered a movie that haunted me most of my childhood. It’s about the afterlife.

In that movie, I remember vividly an image of a guy holding an umbrella jumping from place to place from cliffs to caves. Mind you, it was all dark. He met a lot of people just like him holding an umbrella, jumping around. And the generic rule of this world is if you are lighter (the more goods you do the lighter you are) then you fly to the higher level where it is more lively and if you are heavier, it’s the reverse. That seems to be the whole movie. This guy, however, keep falling no matter how hard he tried. He can jump together with several people, and they are all going up, just him going down. Finally, he is just all alone with an umbrella.

Simple and non-sense movie ? Since the day I’ve watched it, that still remains my biggest fear, being that guy after dying. What if, eventually, there would be no one left ? In my funeral and way after that ? I was super annoyed when I knew we would all be dead one day. But it was still nothing comparing to that loneliness. My fear of death doubled ever since.

Growing up, I gradually learned to control that fear, that fear of being left behind, that fear of having no one around. But deep down it is still there. And it’s just in our nature, I guess, which is why there is a term for it FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Watching others moving forward while own self stuck at no where is not an easy feeling.

His so-sudden passing made me realize that there might be no time left tomorrow for FOMOs on minor stuffs. Think about it, truth is most of the FOMOs we have today can suddenly become incredibly petty when facing Death. Essentially, to me FOMO is the same as the fck we’ve given in life (refer to The Art of not giving a Fck).

It feels like someone just hit me in the face with a brick to remind that I really have to prioritize and focus. Time is precious and limited, spent it wisely with the people and to the works that are most meaningful to me. Let us end this with a quote from Steve Jobs regarding the same topic:

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Steve Jobs

Written on May 8, 2021