Hibernation and the Joy of Missing Out

Daffodils emerging from the winter soil
Daffodils emerging from the winter soil

You might or you might not have noticed that I have not posted much on social media for a while. No worries, there is nothing wrong. I just needed a break.

After my solo exhibition in Charlotte came down in October of last year, I immediately switched to creating small original art and functional art like notebooks with fabric covers. November and December kept me busy as a vendor at Holiday markets, a pop-up event where I showed my art, and delivering merchandise to the Gallery and Gift Shop of the Hillsborough Arts Council for those looking to buy meaningful hand-made gifts for their loved ones.

But while my hands kept busy, my mind needed a break.

Here in the Northern hemisphere, the days were getting shorter, the sun rose later, and darkness fell earlier. Temperatures dropped, and it was nice to be indoors with a cup of tea or hot chocolate. I was longing to bundle up in a quilt with a good book. Or knit. Or spend more time in the studio.

I was tired of the hamster wheel to post regularly and frequently on social media. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy connecting with you and sharing my work on Facebook or Instagram. However, if users don’t post often, the algorithm “punishes” them by showing the posts to only a few and not all of their followers. To ensure that you, my followers, would see my updates and pictures I had to spend more and more time feeding the algorithm. But the statistics, that are revealing every move you and I make on social media, showed that I did not achieve the results I was hoping for.

Plus, during the Holiday Season we all get bombarded by advertising through email, text messages, and on social media. I was overwhelmed by the number of ads I received, and I did not want to contribute anymore to the overwhelm of my readers and followers.

And so, I decided that rather giving into the fear of missing out, I just would take time off from social media. I decided to hibernate, to withdraw into my “hibernation den” a.k.a. my studio.

I spend hours exploring new ideas through sketching.

I play with fabric, selecting stacks of colors, cutting strips designing on my design wall, sewing to my heart’s content.

In the last few months, I had bought books and the stack of unread literature on my shelf kept getting taller and taller. Now I give myself permission to just read, take notes and sit in silence to contemplate.

Although I was working in my studio, I didn’t feel any rush, nor the perceived “need” to document on social media what I was doing. Soon, the fear of missing out subsided, and FOMO turned into JOMO, the joy of missing out.

During the past weeks, I took the time slow down, to breathe, to re-prioritize projects in my art and in my business, and to assess what is important to me in my life in general.

I grounded myself again in the true joy of connecting with friends, clients, readers, and followers. I no longer feel like a victim of algorithms which I can only feed by working harder and faster. Going forward, there will be fewer posts on social media, but they will be deliberate and more spontaneous.

By now, I have acquired a different pace of working, a new focus and targeted approaches for my business, and the courage to say no to tasks and projects that drain my energy.

While the days are getting longer again, I still hold on to hibernation for a little bit longer: sketching, playing with fabric, reading, and journaling.

Soon spring will come; the sun will rise earlier again, and the temperatures will climb. Plants will start growing. Reptiles and amphibians will emerge to bask in the sun, hibernating animals will wake up, and birds will migrate back to their breeding grounds. I, too, will return from my hibernation den and be more visible again.

But until then, I will relish my hibernation and the joy of missing out.