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.

  • 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.

    I have been saying something similar for decades now, that my most precious and valuable gift is my time. I have seen it that way since my 20's. Don't get me wrong I love to be generous with other things, but they are just things. My time and attention I will never get back so when I give it, it is gone. Given my family history I estimate I might have 1,000 weekends left. So if I schedule them out to the point of exhaustion it does neither me nor those I interact with any good. I will have wasted at least 0.1% of my remaining life! If I want to be operating at my best, good quality sleep is important. Be well rested allows my mind to be engaged in a meaningful way not for just work productivity, but interactions with every person during the day.

    As some folks know I am fairly gregarious, but I do not have a lot of close friends. Never have. I always wanted them, but I can be a bit "intense." That hasn't stopped me from having a very busy social schedule. When it gets too busy my wife and I simply schedule downtime. We make sure that we treat the time as if we had another social engagement, with ourselves. Those times are truly precious and they help calm the inner turmoil that can happen when constantly interacting with the public at large. I mean in IT there is always someone who wants a piece of your time right now! It can be exhausting. I truly embrace JOMO chelsia​, I just had never heard it put that way before.

  • Growing up stinks. I would have gladly stayed in my early 20's forever if it weren't for all my friends who ended up getting married and having kids and left me all alone. I was eventually assimilated and fell in line.

    It is also part of a particular maturity cycle. It was inevitable and now I have different appreciations for life. This is all parallel with my IT career. In the beginning I was young and hungry. I could work 20 hours a day and when I wasn't working I was tinkering with my home network. Now, I am a 8-5'er. I yell at anyone who calls me after hours and I haven't had a home network in over a decade. I handle my IT obligations very differently now.

  • Most powerful word in the English language: No.

  • Give me a bowl of popcorn, the tv remote and a couch and I set.

  • Always time for a bike ride.  May be with friends, maybe not.  No electronics, no social media, just calm riding.