(Can you even believe this was the message my tea bag had to give me tonight? I took it as a sign.)
The night began with the best of intentions, but somewhere between a homemade sandwich dinner and an episode of lovingly borrowed HBOGO, I started to power down. Quite literally, I powered down, curled into a ball on the bed, in and out of consciousness for a half hour. I had real plans this evening; I even put makeup in my purse in anticipation (something I never do) of a late night, but I couldn’t muster the energy to follow through with them.
I was supposed to go support my boyfriend at his alumni improv show at our mutual alma mater, and then later head out to a friend’s birthday party at a warehouse in downtown. Sounds reasonable for an actively social twenty-something, right?
But, I just couldn’t get up and out. Two seemingly difficult prepositions at ten at night on a Friday. To be fair, Fridays are especially difficult when you have the weight of the week hanging under your eyes.
Truthfully, I didn’t want to go to the show. I had just been back for a college nostalgia rerun, and as funny and ironic as that can be in theory, it tightens my chest to be slapped in the faced with how quickly time passes. I’m only on the eve of my twenty-eighth birthday and can already tell I will not age gracefully mentally.
On top of not wanting to go back to see my dorm building for the second time this month, I knew dragging myself to the cool downtown party wasn’t going to be easy for me either. Even before I became closer to thirty than twenty-five, late nights were never my strong suit. Every hour I am awake after midnight is a minute victory. I would need cartoon toothpicks to hold open my droopy lids if I were to show up anywhere at close to one in the morning.
And yet, here I am in my lumpy pajamas sitting on my couch, exactly as I wanted…experiencing major waves of FOMO (fear of missing out).
WHY? WHY? WHY?
It is my belief that this newly coined anxiety has been around since the beginning of time. Those who went off to hunt felt like they were missing out on happy, fun times in the cave, and those in the cave longed for adventure. It’s not documented, but I know this to be true.
But with social media feeding us daily live streams of what we are actually missing out on, it’s no wonder that this affliction is on the rise in young adults. No one is documenting the night of too many losers (except me, apparently) where nothing cool happens, so our feeds are wrought with carefully curated good times. And even though we hate it, we fucking love it.
I’m not the only one either. FOMO is a regular topic of conversation amongst my friends. Because we’re over educated and self aware individuals, we struggle with this anxiety more than most because we not only feel bad about missing out, but also feel guilty for being so silly. Consciously we know how ridiculous the feelings are.
I wish a FOMO vaccine could be administered to every person on their eighteenth birthday. Or at the very least, if only it could be like chicken pox; you get it once and then you’re immune. But something tells me this feeling isn’t ever going away, and it’s probably going to get worse before it ever gets better.
Eventually, I think that even if the FOMO rears its ugly head once in a while, the episodes will grow increasingly infrequent and less intense. As I’ve gotten older and taken on more responsibility I’ve been forced to really streamline the things I can physically give a fuck about. As this trend continues with age, I am certain the FOMO is going to have to fall to the wayside if I want to succeed at life.
So, I’ll sit here in a pair of nasty old shorts I’ve had since college and believe that it’s as much of a connection to those four years as I need tonight. I’ll watch Jeremy Piven play Ari Gold play Harry Selfridge in a Masterpiece Classic turn of the century mini-series because I miss Downton Abbey. I’ll drink ginger tea instead of whiskey and gingers. I’ll fall down a few Instagram worm holes, spending entirely too much time scouring the profiles and photos of people I’ve never met. I’ll get eight hours of sleep. I’ll go to yoga in the morning. I won’t be hungover after two drinks tomorrow. I’ll write this blog. I’ll think more about the concept of FOMO.
But mostly, I’ll be happy with my decision because stressing about what I didn’t do tonight is a lot more exhausting than enjoying what I did choose to do.