A recent vacation brought about an epiphany of sorts for me.
We were visiting a lake with great friends of ours. Enjoying the sun, the water, and everything that comes with it.
Well, maybe not everything. My husband and I don’t drink and neither do the couple we were hanging out with. That doesn’t mean we weren’t surrounded by alcohol though. There was plenty of it there, and I’m fairly certain that even the lake water might have had a slight buzz by Sunday night!
There once was a time that the idea of spending a weekend like that, surrounded by alcohol and not drinking myself, would have brought on some serious FOMO for me. In fact, if there was going to be alcohol around, I needed to be there not just drinking, but outdrinking everyone else. After all, that was the only way to have fun and be the life of the party.
I’d forgotten what it was like to spend a full weekend partying like that. Between having my daughter a few years ago and COVID-19 hitting, life slowed way down during those years. Early bedtimes and laying low became my gold standard.
We had the time of our lives this past weekend, and I didn’t have a hard time enjoying myself or being the life of the party even if all my glass held was sparkling water with lime. We talked, danced, and played games well into the night for a few days in a row.
And those late nights hit me like a ton of bricks when Monday morning rolled around and I needed to jump back into real life. What was I thinking? I am in no way cut out for staying up until 2:00 a.m. night after night! It was the Mondayest Monday ever.
Ironically, I am full of incredible gratitude for it.
That weekend and the long Monday that followed were a lesson in JOMO, the joy of missing out.
The sleep deprivation that was kicking my butt on Monday morning was once a daily occurrence for me. Except I could add to it the headache, brain fog, deprivation, and upset stomach that usually accompanied it thanks to the wine or liquor that had contributed to it the night before.
Incredible joy can be found in missing out on that.
I also woke up on that fateful Monday to a feeling that rarely surfaces for me nowadays but that I take upwards of four medications to manage. My good old frenemy—anxiety. It was painful and uncomfortable to walk around that day with the feeling of unease that anxiety brings. To feel as if we aren’t in control and we’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
That feeling usually led me to drink more. I just wanted to numb it away.
As I write this, I’m experiencing the joy of missing out on making my anxiety worse by drinking and allowing it to escalate with each glass of wine I would pour on it.
There is joy in recognizing that the anxiety that met me that morning didn’t become a constant companion. I was able to eradicate it through nothing more than a few good nights of sleep, drinking enough water, and letting my body get back on schedule.
There was joy in missing out on those feelings, but what I am happiest about missing out on are the regrets and the lost moments. I was there, present, and engaged the entire weekend. I remember every moment, the laughs, and the way my friends and family made me feel. I know what I said and what others said to me. I don’t need to piece together the weekend or wonder why someone was giving me the side-eye the next morning.
I am joyful to be missing out on the shame and guilt that would usually travel with me. That is baggage I quit checking long ago and I have no desire to claim it ever again.
Are you ready to discover how to go from FOMO to JOMO? You can get a taste of it when you join us in the free Alcohol Experiment! Over 250,000 people have joined and found happiness, peace, and clarity in their relationships with alcohol.
Read 15 comments and reply