Do you know what "FOMO" means? My 23-year-old niece threw it out as a response to something I asked her this summer. I don’t even remember what my question was because I was so surprised and curious about her very short answer. I had to confess I did not know.
(By the way she didn’t say, “Hash Tag, FOMO.” I just imagine their would be a hash tag here.)
“Aunt Gina, FOMO. The fear of missing out.”
I can shamelessly admit that I do not have my finger on the pulse of 20s-something lingo.
I didn’t respond like Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, but I did ask her every time I saw her that weekend.
“Stephanie, what was that saying again?”
“FOMO, the fear of missing out!”
Do you suffer from FOMO? Ever?
I used to think I did not. I’m usually pretty happy the majority of time with what I have chosen to do. Notice I didn’t say what I have or should do (sometimes I think it is just their connotation like having to do the laundry which I should be doing while I write this). And it’s been a while since I can remember feeling a sense of FOMO. That is until this weekend.
This last week, I traveled with my mother to California, Santa Monica and Malibu to be exact, to visit family friends that she and my dad met while they were on their honeymoon 56 years ago. They have been close friends since then, and their kids, primarily their youngest daughter, and I have been friends since we were born. Close.
It was fun. I had fun. My mother is fun. She always has fun.
But at the time I planned this “fun” trip for my mom and myself, I didn’t realize it was my (senior-ish in college) son’s Fall break. It would be the first time he was coming home since the summer, and to our new place in the city. My daughter lives in the city, too. Suffice it to say, my family had a blast this past weekend going out, chilling out, and hanging out. Without me.
I was melancholy and conflicted, for sure. Even though I wanted to be walking on the beach in sunshine rather than rain, laughing with my childhood friends about all the things we did while our parents weren’t paying attention, and indulging in whatever I wanted to indulge, I was feeling the FOMO.
As much fun as I was having, I couldn’t get "home" out of my mind.
I wanted to be there. I wanted to be with them. I wanted to go out to dinner, laugh at inside jokes, listen to my kids bicker, smile at my husband because we were all together, and happily (kind of) do their laundry.
I knew what I was missing. I felt it in my bones, in my head, and in my heart. It kind of hurt. The FOMO had legs, and it was running.
When I finally got home, the house was quiet. There were telltale signs of each of them, and their fun, and there was laundry to do, but only mine.