It’s creeping over me again…
That fear of missing out thing.
I’ve been so solitary for the past year, so shut down that I suspect I have forgotten how to behave in polite company.
I bare my teeth in a simulated smile at people I meet on my way about but of course they can’t see that under my mask. Most of the time I just do an eye wrinkle, my thoughts concealed. I’ve largely forgotten how to speak. I burst out with inappropriate things (more than I used to) when I get the rare opportunity to talk to another human. Even the cat has taken to raising his eyebrows at me.
But I’ve had a bit of bliss being spared the “fear of missing out.” My friends express amazement that I know as much as I do about what is going on, but it’s part of my thing to sniff out events, groups, places to go and be.
Unfortunately, this makes me want to GO all those places and do all the things.
This is unfortunate because a. no one ever could and b. I live with MS, which restricts my energy quite significantly, so I have had to learn to pace myself. Or have tried to learn this, to varying success.
So life becomes a series of “I’d like to go to this,” followed by “I’m too tired to do that.” (I suspect it is somewhat the same for all adults over a certain age…though I can assure you regular fatigue doesn’t approximate the brick wall of MS fatigue) I became known in my mind as the cancellation queen, and you could tell the things that mattered most by the things I actually committed to attending — my mad Halifax Ukulele Gang, my beloved Craig Gallery jobette, creative coffee with friends, breakfasts with another friend, wine on the balcony with others.
Of course, I moved in the middle of the pandemic, leaving all that behind in a futile attempt to be closer to my kids (one of whom promptly decided to move to Vancouver- I don’t think the two things were related…). So I’m trying to get resettled in at a time when things are shut down.
Which was, in its own way, kind of relaxing.
During the pandemic, the things I was missing out on became smaller and smaller in number. I no longer had the free-floating anxiety that used to fill my life about whether I was missing the thing — that thing — the thing that would be so incredibly fun or healing or beautiful or funny. Everything could be piped into my home in hour long Zoom sessions.
I could do so MANY things!
Of course I overcommitted myself and ended up in my old pattern of signing up for stuff and then not attending — but this time NO ONE KNEW. I could be secretly irresponsible! What’s not to like about that?
Now that the walls are starting to creep down I am feeling that pressure to join in again. To take pottery classes, support political candidates, join groups, volunteer, and meet new people and try not to terrify them with my inappropriate commentary.
Its all a wee bit frightening. Do I know how to be in public after a year of near-total isolation? Does the public? And most importantly, what will I wear? Everything in my closet has been turned into a fur coat with the generous help of an almost Maine coon cat who sheds for the cat olympics. The things hung out of reach are no longer in fashion, or don’t fit my covid body.
What to do, what to do? I’m going to have to be seen again sooner or later. I’ve become used to people not knowing my height. Or what I look like from behind and below my shoulders. Or what my face is doing when not concealed…
Of course, I can retreat to JOMO, now that there are things to miss out on. Is there FOJOMO?
Dear DA –
I love how you allow me to walk in your shoes now and then. A world so different from my own but so believable, given the facts of this time. I love how you make me laugh. Boy, do I look for things to make me laugh. I think I couldn’t have survived this past year without that grace.
My feline housemate mostly sheds onto the carpet, and that forces me to get out the vac more often than I might otherwise. A good thing, since house cleaning is not high on my To Do list. Not up there with hours with my Mac, Zooming, FaceTiming, and chatting on the phone with high school mates from the ‘forties, reading, and pulling foxtails in my yard before they become monstrous ripe seed heads that will return next year in even greater numbers. Yikes!
Have had both Pfister shots, am venturing out a little more – unmasked time spent with little ones whose parents, my grands, have all had the virus – but none of that is very reassuring since so little is known about immunity and recurrence and variants. My fingers are more crooked than ever from being crossed for months, at the same time that I try to be sensible about risk.
Keep up your shared moments. Love you. The other DA
LikeLiked by 1 person
Nice essay, DA. Now we’re heading to a return to normal and that introvert’s nightmare FOFI or the fear of fitting in.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for sharing. Love the JOMO. I am quite content with not having FOMO and keeping to quiet, creative activities after work tasks and getting to the outside for fresh air a few times a week.
LikeLiked by 1 person
LOVE< LOVE< LOVE! your blogposts, DAB ! And I share so many of your feelings and self-comments…different source of affliction, but similar outcomes. And, for the time being, I can't drive of course, while my hip rehabilitates. But very similar. Can't even meet Marijke at the Saturday Alderny Market for good coffee and a pretzl or pastry from one of the vendors. Now my supply of Laughing Whale Ou La La French Roast beans is dwindling from Noggins. But I know I'll be vaccinated sometime in May, if not earlier as the vaccine supplies are gushing into NS at quite a rate, and my age-group is the penultimate to that being called next. Well, we'll see, we'll see what the Spring time brings. So far there have been significantly more sunny days and it's almost time to get my one (so far) balcony folding chair out on the actual balcony and catch some rays.