So its official Christmas is cancelled. Good job I didn’t order a turkey!
I certainly haven’t missed the pre-Christmas build up. Every year about this time I have FOMO – “fear of missing out,” which apparently is a real phenomenon . The magazines are full of what to wear to all the glittering parties one apparently gets invited to plus an abundance of features about party etiquette and the best way to recover from a hangover. And some of my more sociable friends have their invites in full display on their mantelpieces. I am left though with mixed feelings. It’s a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It’s complex. I fret that I am not getting lots of invites and yet I hate parties, so I am relieved that I don’t have to attend. But of course, one would like to be invited
When I had a rather high-powered job in television I had lots of mantelpiece invitations especially at Christmas. Juggling the invitations was a huge headache. But I had a very sobering experience. My popularity rapidly declined when, Murdoch took over the company , and I, at 6 months pregnant got made redundant. Invitations diminished rapidly and my so-called best mates disappeared. No more invitations on the mantelpiece
If truth be told standing around, sharing trivia chit chat with strangers (which I can’t hear anyway unless I get rather too close for comfort – the perils of being hard of hearing ) is not a fun way to spend an evening especially if you are not obliged to for work. For us audio challenged people we smile a lot, nod enthusiastically and hope that our ‘wows’ and ‘really’ and ‘how interesting’ are appropriate. Of course, there is always the chance that someone might ask me what I think and then I panic and use the bathroom as a refuge. “So sorry,” I say hastily “Do you know where the bathroom is.” Then sit on the toilet wondering why I am here and how soon can I leave
Back in the day when I had a training company and networking was vital I remember one particularly awful experience. My business partner and I had been at a pharmacy and optician network event (I know very exciting) which was being held in an Indian restaurant. Now restaurants at the best of time have poor acoustics, and to make it worse the majority of attendees were South Asian who generally tend to speak quite softly. I spent the entire evening nodding and smiling and not hearing a word that anybody said. It was quite surreal just watching all these mouths opening and shutting and yet not being able decipher any intelligible sound. On the drive home my business partner said, “You were talking to a lot of people – did you make lots of contacts.” I rather sheepishly admitted that I hadn’t heard a word anybody said. “For God’s sake,” she said exasperatedly, “get a bloody hearing aid.”
She is not alone, my children are fed up with repeating everything 3 times, Tod was forever pleading with me to get a hearing aid, “look at how frustrating it is talking to my mother,” he said, and the neighbours have complained about the volume of my television. So why don’t I get one? Vanity. Accepting that something is not working. The inevitability of aging. It’s bad enough that my knees are creaking, I can’t remember stuff and my hair is rapidly turning grey and now I have to admit that I can’t hear as well
As always I have digressed. So this Christmas and New Year for me anyway is a bit more JOMO than FOMO. In fact most of the past 9 months has been more JOMO. While many of my friends are missing their social life I have quite enjoyed this oasis of peace and lack of pressure. And FOMO so I am told, diminishes with age. Well I am certainly becoming more comfortable with myself and I do wonder if perhaps I am a bit of a closet introvert. Maybe I have become a little too comfortable with my own company which just might not be good for my mental health.
NOTE TO SELF: Get the vaccine and get out a bit more in 2021
“Let’s be careful out there”