Oh, the difference a few years (and a job, and bills and possibly kids) can make...
It’s 9 o’clock on a Saturday night. Where are you?
Chances are, I’m at home —folding laundry, watching TV or playing Wii. Or shopping at Target while it’s empty. At 28, I’ve officially considered myself old.
I remember the days when I loved staying out until 4 in the morning or later. Friends and I would go out to a bar or a few and then spend time at somebody’s apartment watching TV, playing board games or just hanging out. And, we’d either crash there or walk home just in time to see the sun rise.
Remember thinking that 8 p.m. was too early to go out? Heck, even 9 p.m. was too early! Ahh, those were the days. Today, just the thought of staying out until 3 a.m. gives me a hangover! I think of how loud the bars would be, wonder where I’d park, figure out how much I could drink since I’d have to drive home, hope the ATM would spit out enough money for the night and worry about traffic coming home—all of the things I never worried about when I was 22.
That’s not to say I haven’t recently stayed out late. After work one night last week, I met up with a friend at a local 24-hour restaurant where we talked and ate dinner (yes, it was dinner at midnight).
I didn’t get home until 2 a.m. That next day, I didn’t want to move out of bed, but there I was, up and moving by 8 a.m. Adding to the late-night outing was the fact that I already had worked about 25 hours in two days and was awake for 25 ½ hours over the previous weekend volunteering for an American Cancer Society Relay For Life event. Late nights just don’t happen as often as they used to.
And I don’t seem to be alone. Scanning my Facebook and Twitter feeds on a Friday or Saturday night prove that most people—especially around my age—have traded rowdy nights out for quiet nights in. Many folks end up posting things like:
“Boring night. 10 years ago I’d never be home on a Saturday night!”
But, somewhere along the way, we got old. We traded our late nights for careers and, for some, kids. Our priorities shifted and so, too, did our definition of “fun-filled” nights.
A good friend of mine, for instance, spends either Friday or Saturday night each week baking a made-from-scratch pizza. As a bonus, some nights she’ll bake cookies. She waits all week for that night to come. And, in the afternoon of whichever night she chooses, she heads to the grocery store to pick up all of the necessary items. She rents a movie or finds one on TV and settles in for a nice, quiet night at home.
Those quiet nights are a great reward for a busy and stressful week. The beauty of restful night's is that it doesn’t matter if you don’t go to bed until 2 a.m. or later. It isn’t like lounging on the couch flipping between 400 channels is as exhausting as bar hopping.
Of course, settling into a quiet night in away from the world can lead to minimal amounts of socializing with others. But, that might not be a bad thing. In your early 20s, meeting people in bars is common. But as we age and mature, we tend to make friends in other — less awkward — settings such as work, through friends or at volunteer events.
Now, this isn’t to say every 20-something is over the bar scene. Sunday morning scans of my Facebook page show all sorts of shenanigans that happened the night before from folks my age or older who still enjoy spending each weekend chugging cheap beer in plastic cups as the latest dance songs thump through to the street.
I’m not certain what the appeal is, though, to continuing to act like a college student. Sure, it’s great to relive those moments every so often, or when college friends are together again. But, certainly there are other ways to socialize, enjoy the company of friends and have fun.
These days, I’ll take my quiet nights of folding laundry and watching “Law & Order” reruns over a night of drunken mayhem.
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