The life of a twenty-something year old is usually anything but boring. Post-college adventures are ripe with drunken stupors, one-night stands, road trips, and sunny vacations. Y.O.L.O. is the mentality. Work is entry-level, basic enough that it isn’t too exhausting yet well-paying enough to support kick-ass weekends and paid time off. What’s not to love?
Well, if you’re me, than your post-college adventures revolve around work, third grade homework, the gym, and Netflix. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I am not single. I support both my girlfriend and her daughter. My job is freelance – no benefits, no security. I spend weekends shopping for groceries, taking care of the laundry, and finding out how to keep the women in my life entertained.
Not quite what I had in mind as a youngster imagining my future self. There was a loft apartment in Manhattan, a fierce red vehicle parked just outside, and an extensive and impressive list of contacts in my phone. I also sported a suave beard and wore clean-cut clothes dashed with both Hip-Hop and Mafioso sensibilities. But, I must admit there was no 9-5. No children. No nagging responsibilities other than to be as awesome a human being as possible.
But, here I am. Typing words very few people will read after putting away a bundle of clothes that aren’t mine and cleaning up after two cats that fight and sleep all day.
I could’ve partied hard this weekend. My girlfriend and stepdaughter have been away since Wednesday. They’re in Maryland celebrating Easter with family. I had company that night for the Miami Heat game against the Chicago Bulls which didn’t turn out how I wished. Then, I went out Friday night to an open-bar with some extended friends. I didn’t even want to go. But, it was Friday and I felt like I needed to get out and enjoy the weekend. I had spoken to a college buddy on Facebook and told her my plans. She said she wasn’t doing anything and would come down from New Jersey. So, I kind of felt obligated to go through with it once she jumped on board.
I was beat by 10. My friend from New Jersey didn’t get there till around that time. So, once again, I felt obligated to at least make her trip worthwhile. We ended up relocating to my favorite bar which saved the night. But, I was still just going through the social motions. I preferred to be in my bed with my cats watching Netflix or Friends reruns on Nick at Nite. That’s the life I’m accustomed to now. It’s the peace of mind I enjoy most.
Gone are the days when I got home from the bar just before sunset, stumbling, dizzy, and reeking of Rum and Coke. And it’s not like my stepfather duties magically disappeared because I got drunk the night before. I still had to wake up early and tend to my women. The weekend is the only quality time we share and they look forward to it. However, the morning after a drunken night with the boys is brutal – sweats, stomach pain, diarrhea, vertigo, aches, and severe fatigue. Imagine dragging those symptoms around to a movie theater and restaurant. I’m not the kind of company anyone would want to have in that condition.
So, my progression to this, for lack of a better term, boring lifestyle came naturally. I got sick of ruining my baby’s weekends because I was too busy getting hammered the night before. Tired of being the single guy at the bar, even though I truly wasn’t. I was just without my lady since she had to stay home and be a mother. My boys were always with their women. As friendly as they are, there’s no comfort for a third wheel. They always tell you to come and that it won’t be weird, but when they’re having a good time and share an impromptu moment with their mate right in front of you, it becomes painfully obvious that it already is. I have a woman. Why am I here without her? Wherever she is, I should be too.
And now that I’ve been on a health kick, exercising and eating healthy, my lifestyle has changed dramatically. No fast food for me. Nothing that doesn’t add the nutrients my body needs. The last time I checked, there aren’t many options to choose from on the way home from the bar. Most restaurants close before midnight. I had to drag my friend from Jersey a couple blocks before I found a spot where I could eat a solid meal. Even though she was willing to go, I realized the nightlife upsets the standards I set for myself throughout the week. It’s simply no longer my cup of tea. Or beer.
So, I’m that young old guy who’d rather stay in the house holed up with a good book or a new movie. The nights of making embarrassing memories I’ll barely remember are gone. And I’m OK with that. I’ve embraced the fact that I’m not who I sought to be at this point in my life and adapted to who I have become.