When I was first divorced, I didn’t have a lot of social systems. I had very few friends from before I was married to reconnect with and even fewer from the time when I was married. My life mostly consisted of wife and kids. So when I started getting the chance to do more and have the freedom to do these things, I usually found myself without a cohort to do them. But for some reason, I felt this compulsion, this “Fear of Missing Out” or FOMO that drove me crazy. On Friday or Saturday nights, if I wasn’t out having fun, or hanging out with friends, I felt like I was wasting the time that I was given. I felt like some sort of shut-in loser. I felt like I was in competition sometimes to make as many new friends as possible, and if I didn’t I was somehow lacking.
It took a few years to get to the point where I accepted the fact that sometimes I didn’t need my “squad” or people to do things with. I was totally capable of doing them on my own. I didn’t feel left out if I was my own favorite company. When I was dating someone, I felt included–usually–but it wasn’t all that important to have a whole band of people to do things with. It was quality over quantity in that case. My last gf and I were pretty much homebodies. We would spend time together just hanging out, smoking cigars around the firepit, having a glass or two of wine or beers and just relaxing after a stressful week. There wasn’t the compulsion to rush around and be social all that much. It was kinda nice.
Then the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns happened, as did finding myself single once again. With lockdowns too, nobody was getting out and going places and if you did try, it wasn’t the same. It was a waste of time. So, I started staying home more, enjoying my own company. Writing more. Reading more. Dicking around on FaceBook a lot more. I could connect with people via messenger or the very close friends I had were in my bubble of contagion and we could spend a Friday night just watching Netflix or sharing a meal. Or I could do that on my own and not feel like I was climbing the walls.
Everyone was stuck in this boat, but honestly, I miss very little of those early days of needing to be doing something on a Friday or Saturday night. Sure, sometimes I miss people watching or doing something new. Getting a drink with friends too. But on days like today, a lazy Saturday where my son is in the next room playing video games and the house is quiet, and it’s a little cold outside and I don’t feel like walking anywhere in the wind, I’ve gotten to the point where I can just be still. Do some writing. Drink copious amounts of coffee. Clip the dog’s nails. And I don’t feel like I’m missing out.
The lockdowns have given me guilt free responses to FOMO. Sorry, can’t go out, lockdowns. *Shrug* I am not missing out because I just don’t feel like it. When I want to do something, I’ll do it. I judge myself less harshly. Should I be working out? Probably. Should I do dishes? Yeah. But instead I choose to sit down and write these words. Pet the dog. Have a phone call with an old friend and then do something else that needs to get done.
But I’m not stressing anymore about being an introvert. I get out and do things when I can and when I want to. I’m not in any rush.
The same cannot be said for my next big trip. I am chomping at the bit to fly somewhere new and push my comfort zones. But that works nicely with introversion too. I can charge my own batteries and see new things, without the hassel of having to have a crew to enable me to do it.