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Forced into JOMO: Revellers at the nightclub Fabric, which was recently closed down (Nick Mehlert CC BY-SA 2.0)


There is an epidemic rampaging among twentysomethings in London, removing them from the public and rendering them housebound. We millennials are suffering from Jomo. Like any modern coinage, Jomo is an acronym—short enough for social media — which stands for “joy of missing out”. It describes the deep relief that washes over you when a friend cancels social plans, enabling you to go home and just watch television, alone.

Jomo is the inevitable response to its opposite, Fomo — the fear of missing out that millennials experience through social media, when acquaintances upload photographs depicting enviably fun lifestyles. Such lifestyles are ever more obtainable, now that London’s night Tube service is running on three lines: we young people too poor to rent centrally have more incentive to stay out raving until dawn. There is an overwhelming, endless number of brilliant things to do in the capital each night.

And yet nightlife is dying out as quickly as it becomes accessible, from the recent closure of the famous Fabric nightclub to the countless pubs forced to shut their doors because of lack of custom. London millennials with hard-won jobs and rocketing rents can’t afford to be fired after turning up late with a hangover. Besides, health scare stories screaming daily from tabloids ensure we feel guilty if we go out drinking or fail to get enough sleep. And it’s easier than ever to stay entertained and well-fed in the relative comfort of our poky Zone Three flats. On-demand television services like Netflix mean conversations in the office are more likely to be about the latest episode of House of Cards than a late-night gig, while the Deliveroo app allows you to eat the latest hip restaurant’s food on your own sofa. At the ripe old age of 23, it’s not the prospect of shotting jägerbombs in a club that puts a grin on my face. It’s being able to answer the question “What are you up to tonight?” with “Nothing whatsoever.”

Even students at university, traditionally dens of debauchery and excess, are infected with Jomo. Many of this year’s new students were reported to be disenchanted with Freshers’ Week, the boozy, party-filled start to the first term. They thought it a “waste of time and money” and would rather have started studying straight away. No wonder the previous generation thinks we’re boring. To have fun is practically a millennial admission of guilt. We’re all Puritans now.

But this sober situation is unsustainable. There are endless years ahead of staying at home once saddled with mortgages and children (in the unlikely event that we will ever be able to afford either). But to be twentysomething is to be free, and it is far more reckless to waste these years slumped on the sofa than to be out — out anywhere, doing anything rather than streaming Netflix. We are in a bubble, and like any bubble, this dull takeaway-filled Jomo sphere must burst. We just have to learn to find “fun” fun again.

 
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