When I looked at my calendar five years ago, every weekend was booked, occasionally double-booked, three months out – at minimum.

As the kids would say, I am “hashtag blessed” to have a group of girlfriends with whom I’ve grown up with and despite new jobs, new cities, and new adventures, we’ve remained extremely close. With friendships spanning more than a decade, these ladies are my best friends, travel buddies, confidants, second opinions, gut-checks, and sounding boards for the day-to-day. So of course, I want to celebrate every occasion with and beside them.

So what happens when your friend group of 10+ very successful, inspiring women start hitting those big life milestones? Your free time, disposable income, and patience dwindle. Life becomes a cycle of happy hours to celebrate promotions, engagement cocktails, bachelorette parties, destination weddings, birthday blowouts, and don’t forget the endless thread of back-and-forth emails to monopolize your time nail down details.

The streamers and confetti morph into glitter-encrusted resentment and exasperation. While you’re scouring your closet for yet another costume party ensemble and realizing you don’t have the right components for a “Music Videos from the 90s” theme, you check your bank account to realize that not only is your free time depleted, but you’re one Target charge away from an overdraft fee. But hey! You’ve got a great Instagram feed full of friendship and celebration.

Yes, spending quality time with your friends is one of the most rewarding pastimes and yes, those moments are invaluable, and I recognize that as we continue to grow up and priorities shift, we’ll look back on these occasions with a bittersweet nostalgia. That kind of rose-colored perspective that comes when you’ve settled into new routines that now revolve around soccer schedules and team meetings, instead of the #finalflingbeforethering.

Was the stress of feeling obligated and burdened by someone else’s joy—followed immediately by guilt for even feeling remotely resentful toward your favorite people—worth it? Maybe most of the time. But time is your most precious, non-renewable resource and something you should treat as such.

I’ve learned that while I may miss an inside joke here and there, and I might not be tagged in every photo to hit social media, I’m a much better friend (and human) when I am not over-extended and saying yes to every invitation. Because you can’t show up when it really matters if you’ve exhausted all your energy. You can’t provide the support we all need at some point when you’re sleep deprived and living latte to latte.

While FOMO can momentarily sting, embracing the JOMO is paramount to maintaining your sanity, financial stability, and, most importantly, your friendships.

  • Sometimes to say no is difficult. there has been many times I didn't have the funds or had an early morning and didn't say no to try and fit it. In the end I do not associate with those friends anymore and went through a lot trying to be friends with them. Missing out isn't always missing out in the end.

  • FOMO is overrated. We will all miss out on far more things that we will ever partake in. Even if you are doing nothing relish in it, it's your time, your only time and worrying about the future and regretting the past are nothing other than a waste of the present.

  • I often embrace Joy in all small things, and the JOMO is one of them.   Thank you for this write up.   its very good and i enjoyed the read.  My Younger self felt as if he missed out on many things but it didn't take long before i realized there is a peace in not having every weekend booked.  You know, i even got some of that extra money back, but then it went toward retirement, but still, the end-game is as important as the life game we live right now.  

  • I cannot seem to find the words to describe how I feel when at the end of a long week, I can just plonk down and play some games without having to worry about where I'm going the next day, or who I have to get meet. Put my feet up, turn my brain off!

  • As I read this post I thought of my own life and how some of this resonated with me. I have a few really close friends that when younger we did a lot together and as we got older life got the better of us. This is what hit me the most

    "Because you can’t show up when it really matters if you’ve exhausted all your energy."

    I have had health issues and my best friend the one that is always there for me no matter what! to me that is what a true friend is. we may not talk like we use to or heck even see each other but once or twice a year, I know I can always count on him and he can count on me to be there for him.

    I enjoyed this insight.