Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fun Identity Crisis

The other day, I was talking with one of my new co-workers who is 32, outgoing and seemingly a lot of fun.

We had a laugh-filled conversation about dating, going out and crazy-wild nights out. At the end of our chat, she said something enthusiastic, yet non-committal, like:

“I never go out like that any more. But maybe we should do it sometime!”

I’m pretty sure I agreed with her every (uncertain) word.

A few years ago – alright, last year -- if a potentially new friend said that to me, I would’ve invited her to join me and my girlfriends for drinks, which inevitably would have led to a night of dancing, and then maybe some late-night karaoke or hot dogs.

But today, I’ll admit there’s probably a 50/50 percent chance that would happen. Maybe we would go out and party like we are 26 again in cute tops and high heels. Or maybe we’d just meet at a trendy restaurant for dinner and go home.

When in the world did this shift happen? And how?

I can answer the second part of my question with a few simple explanations: In the past year, I’ve moved away from my hard-core going out crew, gotten into a serious relationship and relocated to a city that is much more spread out than Brewtown.

Yet, judging from my co-worker’s similar sentiments, I think it’s actually less about my specifics and more about our shared generalities.

We’re 32. We’ve done the crazy nights out many, many times. Inevitably, the day was going to come when the fun was going to wear out.

I’m not really apologetic about being at this point in my life. In two weeks I'll be 33, I think it would be more weird – if not troubling -- if I were still partying with a gusto and hooking up with randoms.

It does leave me in a precarious position, though. Nowadays, while I know that I don’t want to hang out at clubs where the 22-year-old girls look naked and I feel like a Grandma, I’m not really sure where I do want to hang out.

These days, I find myself wondering: what is fun?

I’d like to say it’s just hanging out with my man at home, cooking dinner and watching baseball. And no doubt, that's where I'm happiest. But you should have seen the way I bit his head off last Friday when he called us “boring.” He swears he was only kidding, but I'm so paranoid about giving up my reputation as a Fun Girl, I couldn't let the comment go.

The other end of the spectrum isn’t ideal either. I still adore getting together with my girlfriends and will never quit maintaining those relationships. But as early 30-somethings, most of us have serious jobs, boyfriends, husbands, kids and other responsibilities, so we’re not exactly on a mission to drink and dance with no regard for tomorrow.

It’s such a weird middle place to be in, the 30-something, post-crazy-day, but pre-children era. A transition period when the idea of moving to the suburbs is just as foreign as an entire night in stilettos.

Thankfully, I've since had another conversation with my new work-friend, who agrees with me completely about things being a little different now.

We still have tentative plans to hang out some night outside of work. We just have to figure out the particulars.

Y'know, something fun.