FOMO, An Affliction to Anticipate

January 25, 2016

 

My husband and I had dinner with old friends this past weekend. It was wonderful to get together with them again. They are the kind of friends you can see every year or so and pick up right where you left off. Four couples, eight of us at the table at a wonderful restaurant tucked away in a secluded nook.  We were in a supper club about ten years ago and when we moved away, they continued to meet, trying new restaurants and catching up. We have now cycled through a retirement transition and are spending more and more time back in the town where our children reside.

 

There were updates on children and grandchildren, news about acquaintances, discussions of new adventures. Four of us are now retired. The others continue to work as doctors, lawyers, accountants, social workers. It's a varied group.  My friend, Brent invented a term for those who continue to enjoy going to their jobs every day, FOMO, Fear of Missing Out. Brent is a creative sort, musically inclined, and witty. I tend to agree with his diagnosis for some people. There may be a tendancy to put off retirement because work is the thing that we do. For some people, it is the definition of who they are. It is my opinion, this may be truer for males than females. Although, in our group we are equally represented.

 

I enjoyed my jobs, all of them for thirty years, but I often thought of what other things I could be doing. For example I liked to sew, garden, cook, and read, but working left little time for those things. So I had FOMO while I was at work. I also wanted to try writing, but that is a time commitment and a learning curve that working did not allow time for either. I suppose each person has their own mindset about retirement and how they will fill their days, but I seem to be working longer hours in retirement than I did when I was gainfully employed. The difference is I can wear my pajamas and work early in the morning or late into the night. I don't have to be with other people if I don't want to and I can eat oatmeal and candy bars for lunch. I make the rules. I like that.

 

Our discussion of FOMO gave me inspiration for writing a piece on retirement, maybe a short how-to book. I assume most people are planning financially, but they may not be aware of the emotional changes that occur when you are no longer needed in a job you once went to religiously. The absence of structure and purpose may be a difficult adjustment. I suggest embracing DYNP, Disccover Your New Passion. My roses are looking mighty fine. I just want to mention, it still irritates the hell out of me when service people don't show up when they said they would. I took off my pajamas and combed my hair, for heaven's sakes.

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