FOMO: the Fear of Missing Out. The sheer terror of not showing up for an event and missing the GREATEST MOMENT OF ALL TIME.Â
See also: Being a people pleaser.Â
I think busyness might be the biggest curse of my generation. Hilariously, while writing this, I just glanced at my Passion Plannerâ€™s weekly quote:
â€œBeware the barrenness of a busy life.â€-Socrates
Nobody seems to know what to do with their spare time anymore, including me. Itâ€™s not easy to sit and do nothing, especially when youâ€™re a freelancer–you always feel like your work is never done…because it isnâ€™t. Thereâ€™s always something else I could be doing.Â
I donâ€™t do much for myself anymore. I donâ€™t sit and read in the evenings–only in the mornings when my workday hasnâ€™t really begun. I donâ€™t draw or paint. I donâ€™t spend a lot of time working on my own personal development, other than attending my fitness classes.
I have an incredibly large social circle with a wide range of folks in it: former co-workers, friends I grew up with, friends I went to university with, old roommates, artsy folks, etc. I get invited to a lot of events and to a lot of outings, and because my social circle is so spread out, I rarely get everyone together at one time.
This is why I often find myself meeting up with people 2-3 times a week for coffee, a drink, or dinner. (Letâ€™s not even go into the monetary issues with this.) I stretch myself thin so I can see the people I love.Â
And now that Mom is gone, I suspect I have been busying myself as a way to keep my mind of the gaping hole her absence has left in my life. I take on more work than I can handle, and when Iâ€™m not working, Iâ€™m drowning myself in social activity, TV, or something meaningless that adds no value to my life. Iâ€™ve made myself so stressed out that I have the inside of my cheeks chewed to pieces.Â
Iâ€™ve pretty well binged the full SERIES of both The Office and Parks and Recreation in just a few weeks. Thatâ€™s not okay. And reading? Forget reading. My brain canâ€™t linger on a single sentence for longer than half a second at the moment.Â
(Iâ€™m aware a lot of this has to do with grief. Iâ€™m still navigating those waters. Iâ€™ll write another post about what grief looks like now versus back then.)
Bottom line: Iâ€™m tired. Iâ€™m not helping myself. Iâ€™m not confronting my loss. And Iâ€™m spending far more money than I actually have.
In an attempt to cure my insane FOMO, I set up November as â€œNo Plans November.â€ Hereâ€™s what that entails:
- Telling my friends to invite me to do things, but with the full knowledge that I may withdraw my willingness to participate at any time.
- Being non-committal to weekend plans and outings. (Yes, Iâ€™m the most annoying person in the world. I hate flakiness in a human being.)
- Scheduling time into my day to put away the laptop and just enjoy being on my own, whether itâ€™s meditating, reading a book, or going for a walk. I also have a jigsaw puzzle now because Iâ€™m that person.
- Learning how to say â€œnoâ€ to things.
This started off on the wrong foot. I mean, look at the whiteboard I keep next to my fridge:
On the day that I was supposed to attend a Sociables event (basically a super casual networking thing), I messaged my friend Kayla (the organizer) to say I wasnâ€™t feeling up to attending. But the guilt and the FOMO niggled at me so much that I eventually changed my mind, put on some clothes, and headed out…feeling like absolute shit.
And also because a friend had gifted me this BOO-BEES t-shirt and I really wanted an excuse to wear it.
While I never, ever regret attending events like these, I had spent that whole day dizzy and disoriented. I shouldnâ€™t have forced myself out; I should have stayed in to take care of myself.Â Â
Thereâ€™s also the obvious expense of being busy all the time. I donâ€™t have as much time to cook anymore; Iâ€™ve rarely used my kitchen since I moved in. I spend a LOT on going out to dinner or grabbing food, and even ONE drink with a friend adds up to $10-20 per outing. Often more. I spent $75 at Jack Astorâ€™s this week, of all places. I donâ€™t know how that happened. I ate two appetizers and a few beers.
This wonâ€™t fly if I want to start travelling again in 2020. Iâ€™ve booked trips to Japan (YES! More coming on that!) as well as to Scotland, Berlin, and Malta. If Iâ€™m being honest, I desperately need to feel some love for the world again. I need to be excited about something; I need to make travel a part of my life again. Itâ€™s what makes me happy, and right now I am terribly unhappy.
My daily goals are simple:
- Spend some time meditating, journalling, or doing something for myself
- Getting all of my work out of the way so Iâ€™m not working on the weekends anymore
- Do at least ONE non-work related writing task (and that includes blogging)
So I want to know: how do you make space for yourself? How do you take time to do the things you love?
Balance is something I try to practice regularly, but it’s not without challenges. I would love to hear how you do the same!