I, like many people, have had severe “FOMO” — or “Fear Of Missing Out” — for most of my life. This semester has been no different, and, if I am being honest, it has been severely worse.
Now, a lot of my FOMO comes from the fact that I work. I work at 6 a.m. every day of pretty much every weekend. This means no going out the night before unless I want to be exhausted, and a lot of missed football games and other typical college experiences.
Being in my junior year, I think I have felt the weight of missing out on these typical college experiences a lot more this semester. I started this year with the mindset I was going to make the most out of the year, and if it meant being tired the next morning, then that’s what I would have to do.
Now, as we enter week 10 of the school year, I am running out of steam. I have been exhausted for multiple weeks now, yet I find myself continuing to force myself to be social.
Half of the time I drag myself out, whether it's to a party or even just a friend's house. I’m only going because the thought of missing out is worse than the exhaustion my body feels.
As I sit on my bed and contemplate whether to finish getting ready, I wonder if tomorrow all my friends will be talking about how much fun they had, or if I will wake up to Snapchat stories of everyone having the time of their lives while I stayed home alone.
It's taken a lot of practice for me to learn sometimes it’s okay to just stay home. It’s okay to give your body and mind a break.
You don’t have to be in constant movement, no matter if that is what your mind tells you.
[Related: OPINION: Get a hobby!]
In fact, sometimes, staying in by yourself can be just as fun, if not more, than going out. I would much rather be baking cookies while watching my favorite show in peace than at a sweaty party surrounded by people I don’t know.
Staying in can be an art.
Last weekend, as my friends all went out and my roommates spent the night at rehearsals and other friends' houses, I forced myself to stay home. I knew my body was exhausted, and it was time to stay in and go to sleep early.
I put my Air Pods in and randomly started listening to some 2000’s Pop Hits. Songs like “Eenie Meenie” by Sean Kingston and Justin Bieber or “Rock Your Body” by Justin Timberlake flooded my headphones. I have never had more fun.
Sometimes a little dance party in your room and then an early night in bed is all you need to be content.
It’s an incredibly hard lesson to learn, but sometimes being by yourself is the best thing you can do.
My mother once told me, “There will always be other weekends.” And although that can be hard to digest, it’s true. Everyone will go out again next weekend. That’s just part of college.
Listen to your body. Listen to your brain. There is absolutely no need to force yourself to be surrounded by others, especially if there are good odds you won’t have fun.
Instead, stay home. Enjoy the art of missing out. Practice a hobby. Read a book. Watch your favorite movie. Dance it out in your bedroom with absolutely no shame.
Being alone truly is an art form. You just have to allow yourself to explore it.
Gentry Keener (she/her) is a junior studying journalism and political science.