It’s the weirdest feeling. I was prepared to have a few bad cases of FOMO in 2020, due to having a baby. Although I was super happy to be welcoming our little girl, I knew I was going to miss out on a lot of awesome events. Little did I know…
Today, the whole team at Yoast would have been busy organizing another awesome YoastCon. Months of preparation, awesome ideas, invitations to people we care about, selecting super interesting speakers, and so on. As soon as the Coronavirus hit, they made the sensible decision to postpone the event. Sad, but smart. Today’s date got me thinking: a few months ago I’d been wondering about this day a lot. Imagining in what state I’d be, exactly one month after my baby’s due date. I wouldn’t be working as I’d be on maternity leave. But would I feel good enough to attend YoastCon? Would I dare to leave my newborn with someone else, if my husband would have to work? If I had any say in it, I wasn’t going to miss out on the awesome speaker line-up and cool things the team had planned! So even though I’d be missing out on working at the event, I really hoped I wasn’t going to be missing the event as a whole.
So, FOMO. The fear of missing out. I always try to remember the saying “you miss out on more than you don’t, and that’s ok”. Sounds better in the original Dutch by the way: “Je mist meer dan je meemaakt. Helemaal niet erg.” by Martin Bril. And, of course, I couldn’t think of a better reason to be missing out than being so lucky as to welcoming our baby girl. But still, it meant I was going to be away from work for a few months, and skipping a lot of cool events.
When, months ago, the board at Yoast asked me to join the team attending the very first WordCamp Asia, in Bangkok, Thailand, I felt honored. Also, a bit gutted. They didn’t know at the time, but I knew that I wasn’t going to go, as I’d be over 8 months pregnant by then. I felt sad because I would have loved to visit Asia! Meeting the local community, seeing the beautiful country, trying the – I’m guessing – awesome food. All of that would have to wait. Because who knows, maybe there’d be another chance somewhere along the way. And WordCamp Europe, I would have loved to visit Porto! I’ve never been to Portugal. Also, WordCamp London usually takes place around April. That just might be my favorite WordCamp, but hey, maybe next year. My coworker Fleur and I had put together a basic SEO workshop for students at WordCamp Dublin last October. Although we were pretty scared of getting up on that stage, we did it and we had a lot of fun. Maybe we could have applied to do that workshop at some other WordCamps, and develop it and our skills along the way.
So much was happening and so much was going to happen. And I was going to take a break from all of it. Again, to be clear, super happy with my healthy and lovely baby girl. Just saying. It was a bit hard to realize all the things I would be missing. But not one time could I have imagined what has happened now. A virus keeping the world hostage. At first, it felt far away. It actually was, of course. WordCamp Asia got canceled, wow. So sad. Soon after, event after event got canceled or postponed. Even our very own YoastCon. And it’s a weird experience for me, as I’m still at home on maternity leave. All of these awesome events should have been happening. I should have been at home, feeling just a bit sad and mostly jealous, for not being there. But all these other people should be out there having fun, meeting new people, enjoying new experiences. To me, it kind of still feels like all the events are happening.
They aren’t. The world has paused in a lot of ways. Not just my world, everyone’s world. I’m so sorry for everyone, especially the people that put in so much hard work to see their event canceled. The people struggling to get through this. I wish it would have been just me, missing out. Having some bad cases of FOMO. Because I had the best reason to miss out. And you know what, I hope a solution is found soon. So that next year, we can get back to organizing and attending all the valuable and fun in-person events. I know we’ll make a blast of YoastCon, celebrating 10 years of Yoast. And all the other events are going to be at least as awesome as they would have been this year.
So no FOMO for me this year. I guess there’s a silver lining to all of this for me: I haven’t missed out on any great events. And who knows, I might be there next year. I’ll definitely be at YoastCon, and I’d love to hear what other events I should add to my wishlist!