Wow. It feels really good to get that off my chest.
In my last post, I reflected on an assortment of memories from my 23rd year. What I feel like I didn’t touch upon was that this was also the year I started to embrace a little-known phenomenon the internet refers to as JOMO or the Joy Of Missing Out. JOMO seemed to be a theme for me this past year and I think I have enough to say about it that it merits its own post entirely. The main principle of JOMO is that there is no better place than where you are in any moment.
I like going out, but I really like staying in. Why is it that that’s become so unacceptable among today’s early-to-mid-twenty-something demographic? Judging by the amount of people who have expressed to me that they feel burnt out, worn down, and just generally emotionally unstable, I think we could all benefit from a night in.
As far as astrological signs go, I learned this year that I’m just about as Cancer as they come (with the loud, flamboyant and melodramatic Leo as my ascendant…which also makes a lot of sense). Aside from being extremely and sometimes annoyingly sensitive, prone to inexplicable but reliable “bad feelings” about certain people, and deeply, intensely committed to family and friends, I’m also obsessed with the home. It’s where I charge my batteries. Lying in bed in my underwear with take-out Indian Food and a four hour time slot to laugh and weep along to Gilmore Girls, I have discovered the true meaning of peace.
In the early days, I had a really hard time shaking inescapable pangs of guilt when it was a Friday night and I didn’t have it in me to do something. I would get into the bath (water sign, remember?), telling myself that I’d respond to that text, get dressed and go out as soon as the water drained. But then my bed would call me I would generally listen.
All of this is not to say that I don’t enjoy going out or don’t go out. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’d even go as far as saying that I can often be the life of the party. On many a Wednesday, Friday or Saturday you’ll find me clumsily dancing on a chair or doing ridiculous impressions in what’s been deemed by others an “Alaskan” accent (a talent I acquired through spending many hours of my youth at a variety of small town Ontario diners). You’ll find me killin’ it at dive-bar karaoke and finishing off with late-night poutine and a side of whatever I can steal off of strangers’ plates. But when I go out, I want to be committed to going out. I want to want to go out. If I’m out only to “make an appearance” or say I went out or post Instagram proof of me being out, then chances are I won’t be at the party for much longer than an hour. It’s not worth your time or mine to be present in a situation I don’t want to be in.
Do I have social anxiety? I’ve considered this. I struggle from some other anxiety so it’s very well possible. However, considering the energy and life I get from the large, diverse and wonderful network of people in my life I’d say it’s probably not a case of generally disliking or fearing people. I really love people. But I also love my bed. Oh my god do I ever love my bed.
There also seems to be something so empowering about choosing to do what you want to do and not what you feel obligated to do. Checking in with yourself and saying “I could really use a night in” and then actually doing it, while knowing that so many others choose to go out solely because it’s a Friday night feels kind of rebellious in way. For the first time in many years, this past New Year’s Eve I chose staying in, drinking Tequila and watching Blade Runner with my dad over going out and it was not only a really solid night, but it felt almost defiant. I was a real rebel on that couch, exactly where I needed to be in that moment.
In this current moment, as I write this, I’m actually transitioning homes. I’m temporary shacking up with my aunt until a friend and I can find a place that’s to our liking (ideally for October 1st…got any leads?). We’re being picky about where we end up, but only because we see value at this point in our lives in creating a nice home that we actually enjoy spending time in and won’t be obligated to leave once our lease is up.
My aunt lives in a well-maintained and chicly-decorated semi in a nice neighbourhood. It’s unmistakably an adult home, the result of hard work and an impeccable eye for nice things. Though I’m a bit removed from the energy of downtown, I’m lapping up the quiet time while I have it. While she’s not around I’ve been pretending I’m in a place later in life where I don’t feel the pressure to be “out,” where myself and my peers have tired ourselves out from years of going hard and “going out” is a biweekly cocktail (or three) at a bar I can’t really justify splurging on currently. I’m not in that place yet. I don’t think I’m really ready to be. But I can’t help but feel a sense of calm when I think about it.
Any self-help book, fortune cookie, life coach, Oprah follower and yoga teacher will tell you that life is all about balance. And it truly is. After spending far too many hours in the past year either sick with a cold, or just plain exhausted, I’ve never been more aware of the importance of balance. I really like to go out, but I’ve learned that I quite often need to stay in. And I’m closer than I’ve ever been to truly, deeply, and sincerely accepting (and embracing!) that reality as totally okay.