Give Me a Break

Claire Danes Homeland

Carrie Mathison knows all about FOMO

I’ll admit it. I have FOMO. If you don’t know what fomo is, consider yourself lucky, as you probably don’t have it, seeing as those who do have fomo are the types who would have googled it a year ago when they first heard the word uttered in passing and couldn’t bear to not know what that new word meant.

I’ve had fomo since the day I was born. I hate missing out on absolutely anything, and I mean absolutely anything. That means that not only do I have a tendency to say yes to every invitation, but I also tend to offer my help even when I know I don’t really have the means to give it. I want to be everywhere and with everyone at once. all. the. time.

This inherently means that I am constantly busy, which means I am constantly giving. It’s not always generous giving, I’ll admit, but I’m giving a lot none the less. I give much of my time, my money, and sometimes my health in the name of being with or helping others. What does this really mean for me, though? It means I sometimes have little left to give to myself.

What with a new job, a new dog, a new roommate, and a new apartment, I found myself running on over drive for all of the past four months. I don’t think I stopped once this summer. About two weeks ago, however, I took a brief pause to look at myself and my life and I realized I was pretty darn unhappy. Somehow I had been busy every single day, with bar-outings, dinners, parties, and hangouts, and yet I still felt truly lonely. And how could I have learned so much at my new job in the first few months and still feel so clueless and unfulfilled? And oddly, I had been working out in the gym at the most intense levels I ever had and seemed to be seeing no improvement. The most frustrating part: a week ago I got sick. I caught some dry cough that was traveling through the office and at the very same time managed to pull my back after a workout.

For the first time in months, I did something no fomo-victim ever does- I canceled all my plans. This meant canceling not only a dinner with an old friend but even a first date. I honestly felt horrible about canceling on these people, horrible for them and for my fomo-stricken self, but I did it. I didn’t go to the gym after work, or run errands, I didn’t read extra work-related articles, or even bake cookies to keep myself busy. I just went home, and did a whole lot of nothing. It was fantastic. For several days in a row I went to work, came home, and just breathed. I got into my pajamas by 9pm, watched my favorite TV shows, finally got into a book I’d been meaning to read, and started going to sleep by 10:30pm.

My sore back didn’t go away, and my cough actually only got worse. But I have to tell you, I feel pretty great right now.

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