Some of you are young enough to know the latest acronyms and texting shorthand, others maybe not. In case you need to visit Urban Dictionary to keep up with younger spouses, here’s a quick crash-course: LOL means laugh out loud; SMH means shaking my head (or smacking my head); and FOMO means fear of missing out. While you might know what these mean and even use them regularly, sometimes you forget that there are real feelings behind these acronyms that hit just a wee bit harder, especially when you’ve recently PCSed to a new location. You might be LOLing at your Facebook feed when you suddenly see your old gang back at Fort Best-Place-Ever having a blast doing all the things you used to be a part of. Suddenly, you’re S-ing your H because you have a serious case of FOMO.
There’s No Place Like Home: Where’s That?
Fear of missing out — they’re there; you’re here. And, thanks to social media, you’re well aware that they’re moving on without you. While the sweet person that you are knows you want them to continue having a blast and doing the things that make them happy, you can’t help but feel the sting of envy because you haven’t quite turned the corner on friend groups yet, and you’re terribly homesick for your homies.
The life of a military spouse is fraught with stressful circles of starting over, falling in love, and saying goodbye. Each time you move you swear you’ll never find such good friends again, the next place will never be as good, and no matter what happens you’re not going to have any fun. Of course, each time you move you’re proven wrong. Somehow, because you’re military spouses who are resilient and experienced and willing to do what it takes, many moves become the best one yet and the friends you meet are the best…friends...ever.
FOMO and the Green-Eyed Monster
Still, each time you move, you’re reminded that the old group is together. You’re the only one who left. You’re out there on your own, finding a new path, while you see all your friends gathering at balls, spouse events, and neighborhood block parties that you used to help plan. You see them smiling, having fun, comfortable with that familiarity of being together for a few years. And, yes, you’re jealous. You miss them. You miss that familiarity, too. You remember those events and how much fun you all had at them, and you’re not having it now. You’re missing out. And you’re afraid that they have already forgotten you in all that fun — FOMO.
You “like” the post. You comment sweet sentiments on the photo, “Looks like a blast! Miss y’all so much!” And then you curl up with a glass of wine and scroll endless news feeds torturing yourself until you finally meet your first friend and have your first girls night in the new town. Each of us has been there. Military spouses all around the world have felt the sting of FOMO. Everyone knows that it hurts to see your girls looking like there’s nothing missing in their group photos. You should be in there! They should be holding a cardboard cut-out of your smiling face every time they get together! You should be tagged in every photo with the caption, “We miss ____!” Right?!
It’s OK, military sister. No need to have a SMH moment or to confuse the laughing-til-you-cry emoji with the hysterically-crying-emoji. Pro tip: If the little yellow face is smiling, it’s not a sad emoji! Remember that your feelings are normal, common, shared, and — yes —temporary. Eventually, you’ll find your new tribe. Eventually, you’ll start showing up in new group photos. Eventually, your old gang will start wondering if you’ve forgotten them (#NEVER). But a new normal will eventually find you, and FOMO will fade to a mellower WYWT (wish you were there). OK, yes, we made that one up. Unless it’s real. Then we’re hipper than we thought, and Urban Dictionary is ours for the taking!
Ready to get back on the horse? Brush up on Building a Community Wherever You Go.
Photo Credits: Unsplash