FOMO is real.

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I hate that acronym. Of all the acronyms I have had to remember in my life (considering I was in the military, it’s more than anyone should) this is my least favorite.

It makes me feel like a big baby, like, really, I’m scared of missing out?  When I say it out loud it sounds so dumb. I’m almost 42 years old, aren’t I a little long in the teeth to be worried about what the other girls my age are doing when I’m not around?

Yet, here I am, at 1:13 in the freaking morning stewing about what my girlfriends did without me tonight. 

We own a wine bar (I know, that’s a whole ‘nother truckload of baggage to unpack considering I grapple with not drinking). Normally, it’s not a source of temptation, on the contrary, in fact. But tonight, friends, and my husband, gathered together to party…without me.

The horror.

In my rational brain, this is the stupid, immature part. But my thirteen-year-old self felt left out.

Let me make a couple things clear. First, I am so thankful I was able to make the conscience decision to come home with Chicken Little. We got to spend some rare, quality girl time together doing ABC Yoga and meditating in our yoga studio.

Secondly, I won’t be hungover tomorrow and my 40ish-year-old self really just can’t handle a hangover anymore. I got some writing done, took a bath, washed my face and fell asleep. JOMO*

All things I wanted to do. And now, I can wake up tomorrow rested (minus the hour I am spending typing this in to the notes app on my phone), ready to tackle another day of healthy choices. 

But I can’t help but lay here pissed. And I just can’t quite pinpoint why, but I’ll give it a shot:

  1. Rejection. Its my biggest insecuirty. Im terrified of being rejected and/or not included. 

  2. Abandonment. I’m not fun anymore therefore I’ll be left alone. 

  3. It’s not fair {insert foot stomp}.  If all these healthy choices I’m making are just going to leave me sad and alone, what’s the point?

Epiphany Time.

I could have stayed.
I chose not to.

So, when, between those two options, does the acceptance come?  How can I unpack these feelings of rejection and call them what they really are?  No more than old, ugly fears tempting me to return to a life of lack and fear and hangovers. 

I’m pretty sure this right here is what the self-help gurus refer to as the ego, or what I like to think of as an overprotective mother doing anything she can to keep her child from leaving the nest. “Just stay here with me forever. It’s warm and comfy.”

These are real feelings that I am not numbing with copious amounts of Pinot Grigio.

And, just to make things clear, let me tell you how easy it would have been to take a ride on that slippery slope:

I would have started drinking as soon as I got to work (at 3:00pm), continued through dinner, ignored the kids, drank all night with that group, said something inappropriate or offensive, driven home, poured myself in to bed, woken up tomorrow full of shame, guilt, anxiety, not to mention physically ill and hungover, trying to peice the night together.

And, because I would have felt so horrible, I would have done it all over again to numb the horrible feelings.

Good times.

And for what?  So I didn’t miss out?   I’ll take a quiet night of The Office with Chicken Little any day over the absolute mess I would have made out of my tomorrow.  (Update: according to the girls I ran in to the following day, all I missed out on was some late night pizza and a real bad hangover.)

It was a choice.

A simple one? Yes.
An easy one? Not yet.

But what I’ve learned, after many spankings in this department, is that if you want something you’ve never had you’ve got to do things you’ve never done. And in order to do those things, we have to make the choices that line up our goals over and over and over again.

Does that mean we’re going to miss out on some things our “old-selves” would love to do? Probably. But rather than wishing FOMO wasn’t real or wishing it would never happen at all, because we’re smarter than that, let’s find some ways to deal with it when it rears it’s ugly head.

  1. Self-awareness is key. Could I have stayed and drank club soda with lime, laughed and chatted and still gone home, did all the things I wanted, all while not missing out? Absolutely. But I know myself. There will come a time when I feel okay with all that, but this wasn’t it. Choose your slippery slopes carefully, especially if you’re new to not drinking or making healthier choices. Give yourself a chance. Know thyself.

  2. Find the why. The easiest way to know thyself is to start unpacking some shit. My two biggest insecurities, which sort of go hand-in-hand, are rejection and abadonment (we’ll leave the orgin of those for another day). It’s taken me a lot of therapy, journaling, meditation and many “what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-me” questions to dig deep enough to find them. But now that I know what they are, I can trace almost every icky feeling back to them…including FOMO. When you know the why, you can find the way.

  3. Be Present. Look around. Can you find anything that might be better than what you think you’re missing out on? Anything at all? The sun? The moon? The little girl that sounds like a hen while she sleeps in the bed next to you? Your feet that can walk your ass to the fridge? There’s something. Stop whining and find it.

  4. You’re right. It’s not fair. If you’ve chosen a healthy option over a temptation, trust that you are making the right choice. Every. Single. Time. Even if it feels like it’s not fair. I would whine that it wasn’t fair that everyone else could go out and have this great time, drink and eat whatever they wanted, never gain a pound, never say anything stupid and never feel like an asshat the next day. First, this is not true….that superhuman does not actually exist. And two, events happen randomly. The universe has no conscience and is not aware of right/wrong, fair/unfair etc. Only the naive expect others and situations to be fair. You know better. Choose better.

  5. Gratitude…that gateway drug. It’s pretty hard to think about what might be happening somewhere else when you’re only thinking about how glorious the warm bath you’re currently sitting in feels. Or the cozy bed you’re snuggled up in. FOMO pulls you out of the present moment and in to an anxiety spiral about the past or the future. If you want to avoid FOMO, be grateful for the moment you’re in. Period.

    Want to level up in this category…write it down. Pull out the notes app on your phone or a real paper journal and jot down all the things you’re thankful for in the exact moment. It will change your whole perspective…immediately.

    You can thank me in there too.

*Apparently there’s a new thing…JOMO…Joy of Missing Out. I’ll have to see if this doesn’t make me want to puke in my mouth as much.

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i write therefore i am.

Hi, I'm Katy.
Your lifestyle designer and business mentor.

Writing is my way of unwinding and letting my thoughts roam free. Every so often, in the midst of this creative chaos, something clicks, and I'm like, "Hmm, maybe someone else will dig this too." So, I toss it out into the world, hoping it lands with someone who gets it.
I hope that's you.

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