“I use to wear my hoodie like that, pile deep in the hoopty like that. Now I got black cards, good credit and such bae boy, cause I’m all grown up.” – Jay-Z, 30 Something
Being in your thirties can be a socially confusing time. Being in your thirties and single can add another layer to that confusion. Unless you are some freak of nature, you can’t party like you did in your 20s. You try, but you sure as hell can’t recover like the old days.
Chances are you have evolved into other habits and interests outside of the bar scene by now. If you have kids (which I don’t) your entire life has changed (says everyone I know with kids). Perhaps Friday nights aren’t as exciting as they used to be. You’ve noticed you are tired now come Friday at 5, so maybe you started staying in to decompress from the week. (If there is a new Dateline on, forget it. Don’t call me and only text me if it’s to talk about Dateline.) I mean…isn’t waking up on Saturday without a hangover NICE? Saturday nights have bounced back and forth between going out for drinks with friends or just having a nice dinner with a few friends. Sometimes you even see a movie instead or stay in again because cleaning the house and running errands really wore you out. Nothing too crazy. Sundays. Oh, Sundays. Every now and then you go to brunch and day drink to feel young again (if you start early and end early it doesn’t completely ruin Monday), but mostly you’re taking it easy and grocery shopping to get ready for the work week.
“You used to be in the mix of everything. Now it has to be worth putting on publicly acceptable pants.”
Where does the confusion come in? In the midst of being content with this pattern, your mind wanders to the good old days. Remember when so-and-so did that thing when he was wasted that was super hilarious? Man, that was funny. What is so-and-so up to these days? You haven’t seen so-and-so in forever. Come to think of it, you haven’t seen most of the old crew in forever. I mean, you email, “like” each other’s pet and kid pictures. You send texts here and there about missing one another with vague plans to grab a drink soon, but that was a month ago. Actually, that was three months ago. Have you become anti-social? There are so many new bars and restaurants, and you haven’t gone to a single one. Aren’t you supposed to want to go? You’re not old yet. You should really go out more. You need to see your friends before you totally drift apart. Have you already drifted apart or are you just busy? You’re going to regret not taking advantage of still looking somewhat young in 20 years. When is the last time you posted something besides of picture of your dog or baby on social media? Oh….fudge….
You feel it. You feel the self-inflicted pressure to go out. You are at the crossroad of growing up or going out. You don’t really care, but you also don’t not care. You used to be in the mix of everything. Now it has to be worth putting on publicly acceptable pants. What has been going on while you’ve been kicking it in your sweatpants with your partner on the couch?
This feeling of missing out is heightened when you’re single. You were in a relationship when you slipped into this pattern. Now you’re riding solo on that couch on Friday. It feels like you’re the only one of your old friends with nothing to do and no one to do it with. On top of the confusion you have the layer of possibly missing out on meeting your next partner. The ONE. Holy cats. You’re going to die alone. You’ve given up on you. How many friends do you still have? Wait…do you even have any friends?
It is hard to push through those lonely nights on the couch sometimes, but you know in your heart it’s better than being with the wrong person.
This is being 30. This is being single/divorced 30. It ain’t pretty, but it’s not ugly. It feels weird. There is a lot of gray area. But…it’s pretty comfortable. You’re fine with your life choices, you just feel like you’re supposed to be doing more socially. Once you talk yourself down you realize you still have plenty of friends who love the shit out of you. It’s just that they’re as tired, busy and not as willing to nurse a hangover like you. They also enjoy staying in and not having to scream at a bar inches from your face to catch up on life. You’re not dead. You’re actually getting more out of life because you’re focusing on your actual interests. Crazy, right? How fulfilling is blacking out and pumping yourself full of Gatorade, pain meds and fries to feel better? Don’t get me wrong. It gave you some hilarious memories, but you’re moving on as you SHOULD. You’re not missing out. You’re living. Cut yourself some slack. If you’re single, you’re fine. You’re more than fine. Yes. It is hard to push through those lonely nights on the couch sometimes, but you know in your heart it’s better than being with the wrong person. Meeting your next partner is going to happen when you least expect it. Do your thing so long as it makes you happy. When you do what makes you happy, you are beautiful.
Enjoy being thirty something. (Do you guys remember that TV show?) Embrace the gray. It just means you have options. You still get to choose between acting twenty something for a night or embracing the comfort and confidence of getting older. You’re in the perfect place.