I remember the days of nightly partying in my early twenties. Like most newly 21-year olds, I was ready to hit the bars and clubs on any given night. You don’t really think about the fact you have an early morning class or that you have to be at work the next day; it was just a way of life.
I was that 21-year old. I could go out every day even if I worked, had school, or other obligations. It was easy for me. I would drink some coffee take a 20 minute catnap and I was good to go. I think back on those days and have no clue how I kept up with everything I had going on. Sound familiar?
My sister is eight years older than me and I couldn’t wait to go to the bars with her when I went to visit her in Santa Monica. She obviously wanted to go out and party with me, but I am not sure she wanted to take multiple shots alongside me. I gave her a hard time for turning down a shot, because in my mind, why would anyone ever turn down a shot? It was nonsense. Somehow my sister, with some reluctance, was always a trooper and went out with me without complaining (even though I knew she would rather be at home catching up on her TV shows).
It is funny to me now how I pushed her so hard to go out then. Now I am the age she was when I first turned 21, and I feel her pain. These days I still enjoy going out, but sans the tequila shots and hearing the last call bell. Now, I think a bottle of wine shared between friends is a fun night out of the house. I don’t long to be seen at the bar in my cutest outfit, I enjoy my yoga pants and flip-flops.
When I walk into the bar these days and I see the new crop of twenty-somethings out and ready to mingle, I feel a little twinge of sadness… but also relief. I never really feel old until I see them and see my younger self in them. It makes me happy to know some things never change, even if you do. Going out was fun, especially in college, and I have many good memories from those times.
But now, it also makes me happy to know that I have no desire to live that way anymore. It is not that I necessarily wouldn’t want to go out full force if I could, it’s more that my body just won’t let me… and I’ve accepted that. My body tells me that a shot will mean extra hours added to my hangover the next day. I do not bounce back quite as quickly as I used to. Instead I usually have to nurse a two-day hangover. And really who wants to do that? (Who really has time for that?!)
After realizing this, I happened to be watching Neighbors, with Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, and somehow I felt better about not living up to my old partying days. Seth and Rose’s characters are new parents who end up living next to a fraternity house. They still think they are “cool” and can hang with the young guys. As if. By the end of the movie, they finally realize they are not in college anymore and that they actually like the life they’ve settled into. That was when I decided it was time to embrace my age and newfound appreciation for spending a Friday night indoors.
I think most of us who have entered our late twenties aren’t necessarily mad about getting old. It is more about finally accepting and embracing the lives we lead now. This isn’t to say that you should just be old and sit at home all the time (unless you really want to, of course), but that you don’t have to worry about what other people think if you decide that you want a day to do nothing after a long week.
Take this time to embrace this age, because we are still young and have so much life to live and experience. If we keep worrying about getting older and how we can’t keep the party up like we used to, then we will miss out on the beautiful life right in front of us. It’s time to live in the present and look towards the future.