On FOMO, YOLO, and Existentialism.

by Rachael on May 6, 2013 · 16 comments

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Is there anything more disappointing than becoming exactly what everyone said you would? Feeling the way they told you you’d feel, wanting the things they told you you’d want?

It seems such a failure to be so painfully un-unique, to be the same as, oh, everyone else in the whole world ever. You’re no snowflake. You’re just another child of a couple baby boomers; another Gen Y-er who eventually gave up boozing for a healthy relationship, a fulfilling career and a pack of friends she can really lean on. (Like everyone else approaching 30, I traded in the large pack of acquaintances for the small nuclear circle of love. Yet another cliché, sigh.)

I suppose it’s all relative, right? The most interesting person in the world probably feels they’re anything but. When people say they admire this or that about me, I feel like a fraud, a phony. Is it an issue of perception, or am I actually faking them out? Is it a front I’m putting on that can be ripped away? Or do they truly see who I am — an accomplished woman — and I just cannot?

When I look at myself, all I see is the loose ends: I have trouble paying my bills sometimes, I worry if I’ll be a good mom, I hate myself for not calling friends enough, for deciding to move across the country from family when they need me most. I love my job, but I’m terrified of somehow losing it all. That the tech bubble will burst, or that because social ROI is still (nearly) impossible to measure, my work will never be appreciated.

And yet a part of me knows that, at least on paper, I lead a life far more fortunate and exciting than most in this world. I face exhilarating challenges in my job, constantly engage with brilliant people, and learn new things every day. I never worry about food or a roof or even about having someone to lean on; my primal needs are more than covered (and usually come with a side of bacon).

I fear the expense, worry and responsibility of raising a family, and yet I can’t imagine a life without creating one. I outwardly revel in “feeling old” and staying in most nights, because truthfully, part of me is so relieved that I did stop feeling the need to constantly be out and drinking and surrounded by people. (I don’t want to party anymore, but I sort of miss the girl who did.)

And I wonder if that light died too fast, and if it will ever flicker back on… or is this just the next chapter, and should I simply be glad for it?