In Case You Had Any Doubt, It’s OK To Grow Up And Redefine Your Fun
A friend of mine reposted this article the other day to specifically point out that he thinks the whole study should be thrown in the trash because although he’s pushing his mid 40’s you will probably find him turning up in the same club every weekend, throwing back Blue Long Island’s and trying to hit the Quan to the latest Cardi B. chart topper. Then there was me, commenting with a “Well….” and a wide-eyed smiley face to convey that if he’s still hitting the Quan, that’s specifically why his old ass shouldn’t be in anyone’s club. The story was written around the British study “The Great Outdoors” conducted about a year ago in which appliance chain Curry’s PC World in which 5000 people were asked about their social lives. So, when did most adults respond that they’d choose Netflix and chill over $15 covers and balancing cranberry and vodkas in plastic cups on the dance floor? The study showed that on average, at age 31 is when most people wanted to bypass the bandage dresses and bouncers for a night on their sectional and an Uber Eats delivery.
Many of my friends responded with similar reactions as the friend that initially posted stating that their age wasn’t going to stop the turn up. But I distinctly remember there was a point in my late twenties, long before I was engaged or pregnant where I found myself yawning in the middle of the dance floor wondering why undergrads hype off of Red Bull kept bumping into me while dancing rhythmlessly to Kaskade and deadmau5’ s “Move For Me” despite being on a dance floor with plenty of room to move away from me. It was at that point that I knew I was over the club scene and in that moment that it turned from fun to frustrating.
Still, all of the friends that were defending their right to party no matter how much their backs were killing them reminded me of a quote by comedian Quinta B.:
It made me think about our culture’s obsession with youth and the need to make every milestone from pursuing a profession to parenting exciting and sexy (Hence MTV’s new show Pretty Little Mamas, because a regular mom shopping for towels in Target isn’t as entertaining as one breastfeeding on a yacht in St. Tropez). There always seem to be the implication that growing older is boring, basic and something to be avoided. And while I don’t believe there’s any schedule that states at 30 you need to put the Red Bull and Vodka away and grab you a mug of chamomile tea and a good book, I can’t help but witness some of my peers default back to undergrad behavior because they’re intimidated by anything beyond that. There’s a whole gray area between throwing back tequila shots in Mexico for spring break while nursing a pregnancy scare and having a whole spouse, mortgage, life insurance, 2.5 kids and a Labradoodle. For me I didn’t necessarily retire my skinny jeans for sweatpants in the past five years, but I did accept that it was OK for my interests and comfort levels to grow and change and it didn’t mean I was on the express train to weekends with Lifetime Movie Channel. Eventually I noticed that I was more comfortable having an expensive meal with some aged whiskey and good conversation than I was balancing a fish bowl in one hand and my friends hair in the other as she knelt on a bathroom floor covered in hazardous waste with Nicki Minaj blaring in the background. I liked comfort, quality and to actually be able to talk with my friends without screaming over the treble in a converted warehouse with strings of Christmas lights for “ambiance”. It didn’t mean that I couldn’t hang, it just meant that I’ d prefer to do so in place with actual glassware.
The study pointed also pointed out that many adults in their 30’s find themselves exhausted after juggling a 40-hour work week, not to mention nights full of bathtub tug-of-war with their kids and the other mundane responsibilities that come with adulthood such as running errands, going to parent teacher conferences and paying bills that at the end of the day most of us just want to chill in the home and take advantage of the comforts we’re all working so hard to pay for. Matt Walburn, the Brand and Communications Director for Currys says that with technology bringing so much of the outside world to people’s living rooms, a night out almost seems unnecessary:
“The fact [is] that there comes a time when we appreciate our home comforts more than a hectic social life, and it can often be a drag to play the social butterfly at parties and nights out.”
“It’s now almost impossible to get bored at home, with endless box sets and the latest technology … That coupled with social media, online shopping, and gaming with pals often means more pleasure can be had on a night IN than a night out.”
Now let’s keep in mind, that the head honchos of an appliance chain of course will harp on the message that staying in surrounded by your wi-fi and electronic devices is the new date night. I don’t agree that a night out amongst the young, wild and free is overrated in your thirties, but I will say don’t be afraid to elevate your taste level and redefine what fun means to you. Too often I witness people on social media who only define fun as drinking, day parties and taking the same selfies that are supposed to serve as proof that they are living their best lives. And while I don’t knock what people need to unwind, I can’t help but thinking that some of those people are stuck because they think because they don’t have the mortgage, the health insurance or the car payment that they somehow don’t measure up to the expectations of being an adult. But more than anything, adulthood is a mindset and it’s about accepting that change is necessary for growth and things aren’t supposed to stay the same more than it is about the checklists some may use to assess what level of respect to give to you based off of what you have or haven’t accomplished.
Look I get it: Adulting is hard and intimidating. With every added responsibility comes less and less time for yourself and there’s the added pressure of the message that our culture sends that by age 30-something you should have your s**t together. So often I see many of my friends retreat to a time when it was OK to not have it together, to live irresponsibly and give zero damns about the future. But here’s the thing: No of us have it all together, nor should would be believing the unrealistic lie that we should because our birth certificated list a certain year. It’s not so much that we’re faking it, as much as we are figuring out, one difficult, awkward decision at a time. And while turning up is something every adult should treat themselves to every once in a while, if you’re only using the club scene as a distraction or means to turn you’re very real life and the challenges that accompany it off, you’re limiting yourself from new experiences and new opportunities to build confidence that you’ve got this growing up thing in the bag.
That moment I stood in the middle of the club while Kaskade crooned, “Another night out. Another dance floor…” I felt that s**t deep in my soul, and not in a good way. I looked around and realized that the people “living their best life” were knuckles deep in their Instagram feed scrolling away holding up the wall because their five inch platform pumps were failing their ankles. Despite what any rap song or reality show may try to tell you, a good time doesn’t have to be defined by you twerking your damn life away on the same three dance floors. There are too many bookstores, museums, art and cooking classes to limit living your best life to only places that offer bottle service.
In what ways has your idea of fun changed as you’ve gotten older?
Toya Sharee is a Health Resource Specialist who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.