As It Does Not Relate to My Millennial-ism

FOMO (or, the “Fear of Missing Out”) is, to me, just another acronym thrown onto Millennials to make us seem naive and immature. It’s a term that many can and will spin, somehow, to show how lazy, entitled and undeserving Millennials can be. I know this, not because I feel this way — which I don’t — but, because I’ve seen it done. It’s a stupid and catty attack on an anxiety that is very much real.

Nevertheless, the FOMO that I feel most of the time has nothing to do with my being a Millennial, but with me being a daughter.

When I was younger, I lived in Philadelphia with my mother and my brother. My dad lived a few hours away in Maryland. Reaching my father was never difficult — he was always a phone call or a three hour car ride away. My dad was my best friend, so every opportunity that I had to spend time with him, I took it.

When I was nine, dead in the middle of the night, my mother moved my brother and I down 888 miles to Jacksonville, Florida.

This isn’t as scandalous as it sounds —

My father knew, my brother knew, and I’m pretty sure I knew but just forgot.

I don’t remember packing or sitting down with my teachers to talk about my leaving school. I don’t remember saying a final goodbye to my friends, or wishing well the apartment that I had grown up in as I would be seeing it for the last time. I don’t even remember getting into the car.

I just know that my uncle was there, we drove for hours, most of which I slept through, and I woke up somewhere in a Carolina, preparing myself for sunshine and beaches.

When we finally got to Florida, it was storming.

(Talk about foreshadow.)

Making this move only made it harder for me to see my dad. I’d have to travel by plane instead of the backseat of my mom’s gold Toyota. We’d go months without seeing each other instead of weekends. The calls weren’t as frequent because our schedules started to change. He moved to Washington, D.C.; I started middle school. He moved to New York, I started high school and my family and I moved into our first house.

I turn 13, 15, 16, 18, 20.

One of his lungs collapsed and he finally stops smoking.

I get accepted into college, move in with him, and six months later move back.

He got a serious girlfriend, I began silently battling a mental illness.

They move in together, and so does my soon-to-be-former stepfather with us.

I earn my high school diploma, my A.A., and in four months my B.S. He got married and as of today, bought his first house.

Twelve years pass and the majority of the majority of it goes unshared with my best friend. A father and daughter, caught in a relationship of yearly snapshots.

It’s like one of those television shows that constantly replace some of its major characters abruptly, and act like the audience won’t notice. (See Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s Aunt Viv)

The change is noticeable. It’s important. It’s there in your face and you can’t figure out when or how it happened.

I fear missing so much of the time my I should be spending with my dad. And I’m pretty sure he has the same feeling for me, too.

I’ve missed out on so much over the past twelve years, but I know that it’s no one’s fault. It’s just life. Sometimes, though, I feel like my dad’s more of a stranger than my best friend. I don’t know who he is anymore. Every visit, something changes, and I don't know when or how it did.

The change is noticeable. It’s important. It’s there in my face and, for the life of me, I cannot figure out when or how it happened.

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