It’s 6:56pm on a dreary Sunday evening and the rain is coming down like a cow peeing on a flat rock, as my dad would say. I just spent the past two hours at a delightful little cafe listening to my 13 year old niece, 9 year old nephew, and several of their classmates play solos and duets using drums, guitars, and voices. I watched in the audience with my 9 month old nephew, brother, sister-in-law, and her mom and her boyfriend. It was wonderful.
These are the moments I will miss the most when I’m on my adventure around the world. The normal, everyday, slightly mundane moments with family or friends when the ties that hold us together strengthen by simply sharing in that normalcy. I got home feeling just a little melancholy, knowing that when I leave, those bonds that were so strong will start to loosen and fray…
…However, that doesn’t mean I won’t go. I will and I’ll have an amazing journey and be so happy that was the choice I made. But right now, in the afterglow of spending time with some of the most important people in my life, I’m feeling a little fomo. For those of you not reading the urban dictionary before you go to bed every night, fomo stands for fear of missing out. I used to be a severe sufferer of fomo until I realized that my fear of missing out was actually causing me to miss out on even more. I would get worried if I missed an invite for something, I would get anxious if I heard about friends getting together without me, I’d get downright irate if I felt like I had been purposefully excluded from something and all those negative vibes would come back amplified the next time around.
So I stopped the cycle. Let go of those worries of being excluded and just do my own thing. Most of the time, it works for me. I’ve got different goals, a different life plan than most of the people around me, including those of a similar age, but I no longer feel the need to make excuses for it. Instead of being afraid that I’m going to miss out on the milestones my generation is focused on (landing a high paying job in their field, paying back student loans, getting married, having kids, putting a down payment on a new car or house), I’m making my own milestones (going to a country in Africa for the first time, working my way around Australia, having a grown-up girls trip all the way in Italy, balancing career goals and a love life and my bank statement while I’m on the move for several years). No more fomo.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to miss my family and friends, particularly my brother’s family since I’ve live in the same town with them for most of the past 4 years, but they have lives to live too. And when we skype, exchange emails, make the occasional telephone call, that bond that holds us together will come back even stronger than ever because we’re making the effort in spite of the fact that our normals don’t line up anymore.