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BEING THERE: THE RETURN OF FOMO



So, we thought it was gone for good. We stopped caring about what other people were doing. We isolated, we baked bread, we home-schooled, we did laundry. And all the while, we looked for silver linings. And we found one: At least there was no more FOMO.


But friends, hold on to your trucker hats, because we are coming full circle so hard and so fast, you might get severe whiplash by October. And like all things in a Covid world, this feels a wee bit different.


The 8 Stages of Fomo


1. GLEE

At this stage, you’re just stoked. Is that a party I see crawling out from beneath a rock?! An art fair? A function? It’s the US open…it’s Lin Manuel…it’s Super-fall!! That’s right, we are back-- and we are bigger and better than ever. Remember those threadbare shacks that littered the sides streets last year under the guise of “outdoor dining?” Well, they have been all jazzed up with flowers, floors and fairy lights -- and at the right angle, they look downright Parisian. And why not go out? Excelsior Pass? C'est la vie!


2. PANIC/INDECISION

Next comes the long, pregnant pause. Wait, seriously, a gala? Like in-person? But I’m having a dry September, and all my clothes are from 2017. Also, I’m halfway through White Lotus and Netflix keeps promising me that Ozark is coming back SOON.


3. RISK ASSESSMENT

Ready for the ultimate back-to-school math challenge? Every plan you make is actually a complex equation. For each event, you’ll try to compute all the variables. How many people? How many zip codes? (Actually, those people just had covid so they’re 'good,' but the Westchester people haven’t had an outbreak since early summer, so hmmmm...) If I test today, is it still good for Friday? But if I test tomorrow, will it be back by Friday? What do you mean you have no appointments till next year??! This will lead you to...


4. RATIONALE

Is this Fall Fete really worth a 250 dollar Covid test? I mean, I have three things next month. I have a bit of a cough anyway. See that? I just sneezed. I should not be around people.


5. ENGAGEMENT

If you've struggled with fomo in the past, this might be the stage that gets the best of you. The curtain is up, the game is underway, the party has kicked off. Indeed, the train has left the station, but you, my dear, have not left the sofa. You know you shouldn’t check your feed, but a dopamine craving is quite nudge-y. Those brave souls must be two drinks in by now, so surely someone must be posting something. Oh wow, is this party Ed Libby?! Is that a confetti drop?! Is Rihanna performing?!! Eh, this doesn’t look so fun. I mean, look at that sweaty server in the respirator-mask; he looks downright miserable.


OMG, she's having a party too? That b-tch didn't invite me.


6. RELIEF

Ok, it’s over. Maybe I missed “being there,” but I survived. And I don't have a hangover. Hal Ashby is my icon.

7. DAMAGE CONTROL

Repeat after me: I am SOOOOO sorry I missed it! Yes, you fought through your fomo, but please don't expect to be canonized.


8. AND FINALLY...ACCEPTANCE

There will come a time when we are living in a real post-pandemic world, not the preamble. A time when you can stop and smell the rose centerpiece at a luncheon and not worry that you just inhaled a virus. A time when you don’t have to prove to the Uber gods that you‘re wearing a mask before finding out how freaking long you have to wait for a car. But, for now, you can be choosey. Fomo may be back, but I promise, soon enough, Ozark will be too.

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