Sometimes, things happen that you didn’t go to, or participate in, or help with, or weren’t involved with. Well, that’s fine, the majority of things happening are like that for the majority of people in the world. Jane or Joe Random from Miscellaneous, Alabama (I have no idea if there actually is a town called Miscellaneous in Alabama, but I needed an inconsequential name to illustrate the point, so there you go…) probably have no knowledge of the community garden party held in deepest Silsden on the first Thursday of every month, and likely wouldn’t care if they had. But someone who lives in Silsden probably is aware of it, and might even feel left out if they didn’t go.
And that’s what missing out is. Something’s happening that you feel you should be going to, or be involved in, or be helping out at, and you’re not. For whatever reason, be it emotional, financial, temporal, moral or (il)logical, you’re not there, and you think or feel or expect that you should be.
And, well, y’know, these things happen. Sometimes you can’t get to the party because your pet is ill. Sometimes you can’t afford to go to the fan gathering. Sometimes you just don’t have the time to get to the festival, not unless you want to have nowhere to stay if you want to catch the train home at a reasonable time in the morning. Sometimes you don’t think that you’ll fit in at the pub meet, because everyone will be so happy and you’re just not capable of feeling happy right now.
So, you miss out. You keep doing what you would normally be doing at that time on that day. And then after it’s over, your friends tell you what happened, and how great it was, and how much it all was. And maybe they’ll even use the killer phrase, “oh, you should have been there.” Doesn’t matter if they’re talking about some random drunk gatecrasher spewing up all over the floor or your favourite celebrity dropping in unannounced and joining in with things – that phrase will kill you. Because you couldn’t have been there. But you’ll feel like you should have been.
And so you start to feel shitty every time your friends start talking about it, and wish they would stop, but you hope they don’t – because they’re your friends, and they enjoyed it, and their reminiscences are just as important to them as taking fido to the vet was, or being able to afford to eat next week, or proving to yourself that you can still pull an all-nighter by doing it on a station platform, or looking over old photographs and souvenirs from college.
And sometimes – just sometimes – you can live a little through other peoples’ memories.