I’ve been stressed out lately for really stupid reasons.
These are not real problems.
And yet I’m still stressed.
I know I’ve mentioned my extreme case of FOMO before. In case you didn’t know, FOMO is a real affliction that stands for “Fear of Missing Out.” This applies to so many facets of my life – it’s the reason Eric gets annoyed as I’m trying to rush everyone out the door to arrive at casual gatherings on time, because in the back of my head I’m always thinking, “…but what if we miss some of the fun?” FOMO is the reason I rarely say no to activities, even if I end up scheduling multiple things in one day. It’s the reason I get so bent out of shape when friends hang out together without me (those bitches).
Lately I’ve started to realize how much my FOMO affects me in other ways. Namely, discount shopping ways.
You see, I’ve always felt a little twinge of anxiety walking towards the entrance of Marshall’s. If I see someone walking slightly ahead of me, I’m always thinking, “What if she’s also a size 6.5 shoe and grabs the perfect leather booties on clearance before I can get to them? What if she is also coincidentally shopping for a gray and white striped storage cube and snatches up the last one?”
It’s ridiculous. Yet, this is how my mind works.
So you can imagine my distress when it comes to things like sample sales. We just had one at work and I was a bundle of nerves for the whole week leading up to it. It’s not even like I wanted anything specific – I didn’t even know what would be in the sale. But still, I was so nervous about it and kept re-confirming with my friend (thankfully, the sale organizer) that I would be helping her set up (in other words, getting a first look at All the Things). I panicked over how the setting up would play out… would I be able to set things aside as I was organizing them, or would that seem greedy? What if someone accidentally started going through the box of things I set aside? What if I missed out on the most perfect cheap thing ever? I kept getting angry at myself for freaking out over something so inconsequential, and yet I kept freaking out nonetheless. I tried to remind myself, 1) that I did not deserve or need the things more than any of my coworkers and 2) that there are people in this world with real, ACTUAL problems who were probably handling themselves with better composure than I was.
The sale happened last week and I got a huge box of stuff that I definitely did not deserve or need. With my items safely packed into the back of my van, speeding away from work, I finally breathed a sigh of relief. And felt stupid for ever being anxious in the first place.
And then Santa Claus came to town.
A little backstory on this one – ok, not much backstory, because there isn’t much backstory to give. About a week ago my sister mentioned Santa photos with a local photographer. Seems innocent enough, right? Except no, it’s not simple at all. You see, this particular photographer has the best Santa (who she creepily refers to as the REAL SANTA so many times that I’m convinced she actually believes it). Apparently there are 275 spots available for 10-minute, $50 sessions with Real Santa and last year they sold out in 7 minutes. This year they were predicting (and I think accomplished) a 30-second sellout. These Real Santa sessions were hot, hot, hot.
And yeah, he does look like a good Santa – real white beard, kindly face. My sister was sending me photos of last year’s Santa photos from the gallery and they were really cute. But the hype seemed a tad extreme… Facebook posts with numerous multi-paragraph explanations of how to secure your spot. Complicated instructions. A go-live time of 9 pm and imperative warning that the sellout would be SWIFT and BRUTAL. May the Wi-Fi gods and quick typing fingers be with you.
The way it would work was the link would go live at 9pm sharp, then 550 people would be able to register before the link disappeared forever. The first 275 of those registrants would get a guaranteed time slot with Magical Unicorn Real Santa while the remaining 275 semi-losers would be put on a waiting list. Spots would free up from illness/bad scheduling availability or from generous single-child households offering to share their ten minute time slots with other single-child households. No one on the wait list would know their order, or if they would have a chance at getting a session… they would all just have to wait it out.
A few things. First – I literally didn’t know about this hulabaloo until two days before it happened but suddenly, upon realizing the hype and seeing the (arguably convincing) REAL SANTA, I became very anxious about getting it for myself…I mean, my kids. And second – the Santa who came to my church last year for free and who was probably coming again this year was pretty good. I liked the pictures a lot.
But still. Real Santa. Magic Santa. Everybody-Wants-Him-So-He-Must-Be-Amazing-Santa.
So I asked Eric if he had any “tricks” for quickly filling in forms and, to my surprise, he didn’t make fun of me for being so insistent over needing some stupid overpriced Santa pictures. He told me that he had it under control. At 8:58 I anxiously wrung my hands as he kept refreshing the registration link over and over again. Finally – at 9 sharp – the form appeared! He tried to right click to autofill the form and… nothing. Thrown off his game, he started typing as I hopped up and down behind him, yelling, “FASTER, FASTER!” and cursing myself for having the longest email address in the entire world. We were able to submit the form but had to wait several hours to see if we made the cut or got stuck on the wait list.
I was so anxious over this non-event that I actually woke up at 2am and saw the email – we were officially wait listed. Which is better than nothing but still… wait list? Dammit. My sister is apparently a faster typer because she got one of the coveted guaranteed spots.
And now that it’s over, I’m so much more relieved and honestly not that upset about it. Maybe I’ll get bumped off the waiting list and get to see real Santa and maybe I won’t. Either way I’ll get a cute photo of my kids sitting on some bearded man’s lap (screaming bloody murder I’m sure) and it will all turn out fine.
I repeat: THESE ARE NOT REAL PROBLEMS.
My next annoyingly stressful FOMO event is happening this Friday. There’s this huge rummage sale in a swanky town and I’ve been driving my two shopping addict friends nuts about it. I’m so anxious – for myself, but also for them because I invited them to go with me and promised lots of good stuff. We’ve been going over “the gameplan” on a daily basis and at this point we’re arriving two hours early to stand in line before it opens.
And after that, maybe my nerves will calm down again.
Until the next big sale, of course.