Remember when we were all told to stay home without guilt during the worst part of the pandemic?
It was a terrible way to get there, but it afforded us a break from the dreaded FOMO dynamic. If you don’t like acronyms and are not sure what I’m referring to, FOMO means the “Fear of Missing Out.“
It was nice not having to worry about skipping an invitation; or worse, not getting one. I was contemplating larger life issues rather than thinking about getting my hair cut regularly or some other aesthetic appointment. Who cares? I’m usually wearing sunglasses and a mask. I was juggling a brain full of thoughts about mortality, a changed social system and environment – not the now painfully shallow stuff like a full calendar, stressing about missing a networking event – or experiencing the grand life depicted on social media that everyone else seemed to be having.
As COVID restrictions are lifting – I’m a bit concerned about my reaction.
Shouldn’t I be ecstatic? I really was a social creature prior to this mess (usually). Now when I do need to go out – or OMG attend something featuring real live people, I feel anxious. And, if I apply even the tiniest bit of makeup, I feel like a Kardashian. I can’t seem to remember how to effectively use makeup or walk in shoes with a heel. And don’t even get me started on “hard” vs. “soft” pants. While I know for sure that I don’t want to return to a lifestyle where most of my days/nights of the week are planned, I also don’t want to become a ghost of my former self that people whisper about in the manner of “Whatever happened to…?”
I’m going to tell you what I’m telling myself. Be kind to yourself. Now that we’ve all had a breather from our prior routines, we have some reflection to do. There’s many shades of gray between those who are flinging themselves headlong into crowds and feeling untethered joy over it, to those who are insecure about venturing out socially or for work. Variants, anyone? Some of us will need more time than others to strike the right balance.
Don’t allow the dreaded FOMO to raise its ugly head and make a comeback now, or in your future.
The pandemic has actually put a spotlight on the things that are important for us to return to, and made us more aware of those we can discard.
As I hesitantly venture out, paler and weirder than I was pre-pandemic, all I can say is stay tuned. It’s going to be an interesting summer.