Nights out get that little bit harder as you get older. Once you hit your mid-twenties the tolerance for alcohol practically disappears and your recovery time slows down from half a day to two weeks. Those hangovers of yore, which didn’t stop you from going to work/college or from going for round two the next day, are just a distant memory now. Doing shots is no longer a good idea because it results in memory loss that you just can’t afford as you get older. Stories about how you blacked out at the weekend are no longer an acceptable anecdote to share with co-workers or friends. In fact for most people in their mid- twenties nights out are far less frequent and far less enjoyable, because at your age staying in and watching Netflix while you wait for the last load of washing to finish just feels like an easier option than going out. But when you do go out for a reunion with friends, where you all attempt to relive the going out experiences that you had at 19 or when you go out with real adults from work, you notice how different the going out experience really is now.
You now have a purpose for going out, you don’t just go out to get horrendously drunk, a change that you honestly you never thought possible. You have to be more social than when you went out in your early twenties. Now this can cause an enormous amount of stress for most people, for me it’s the hardest part of going out in my mid-twenties. You have to discuss grown up topics of conversations, mainly there is a lot of justifying where you are at in your life while trying to pace yourself, when I say pace yourself even though your first instinct during this awkward social situation is to get blind drunk. Unfortunately though you can’t get drunker than other people because then you will be ‘that person’ and everyone will feel shame on your behalf and think you’re ridiculous for not being a more sophisticated drinker at this point in your life. Your main topics of conversation are work and your future plans: you must prove to everyone that you are where you should be at in your mid-twenties. Even if you have not thought further ahead than what your next cocktail will be you tend to go with the flow and just make shit up. Acceptable life choices/plans you pretend to have includes moving out, travel and going back to college to further your education or to change career path. Other bullshit topics that you will discuss and try to use justify your existence and prove you are doing what you are supposed to do is: defending your relationship or if you are single, explaining why you are single. The very fact you are having these conversations makes you internally cringe because the truth is the only things you are concerned about are Pokémon Go and watching Adventure Time for 3 hours straight.
You start to realise how little you know about the world around you on nights out because you have created a bubble around you to protect your from the adult world because at the end of the day you are under thirty and therefore still have time before you need to really commit to anything in your life, including committing to being socially aware. But this bubble has left you vulnerable when among more ‘together’ people on a night out. People are now discussing mortgages and the economy and other subjects you know nothing about but now feel like you should. You make mental notes to start doing so but suddenly get distracted by planning your meal at the end of the night and before you know it everyone has moved on and discussing how far along in life that random person you met twice in college is, and how much money that other guy you know is making while you can’t commit to a three-in-one or a garlic cheese chip.
But you are not an entire anxiety ridden mess, good things happen when you go out in your mid-twenties. You become a more sensible and organised person while you are out. You don’t just have condoms and a naggin in your handbag, you have make up, deodorant and other night out essentials, and also ‘I’m old now so I need more stuff’ essentials, like a packet of tissues in case there is none in the toilet, hand sanitizer because the hygiene in bars is now somewhat of a concern for you now, you bring a pair of flat shoes because the pain threshold on your feet is not as strong as it was 5-7 years ago and you no longer see walking home in your bare feet as a good life choice. You also bring painkillers for when the hangover sets in on the journey home.
You are a more sensible person when you are out, you are a much more mature individual than you were when your first started going out, and when you get chatted up by people you I.D them or ask them when their last STI check was because you have learned that it is not worth the risk to not ask first and if you are in a relationship and drop these questions you are almost guaranteed a hassle free night because who the fuck would approach the person asking everyone if they have the clap. You start to view the graffiti on the bathroom walls and doors differently. You’re not quite at the point of disapproval but you find yourself laughing more at the ridiculous political statements people have written while drunk rather than anything else, because you’re a grown up and you either think their statements are ridiculous or completely worth agreeing with if it weren’t for the fact it’s on the back of a toilet door. You go out early, maybe go to the cinema or for dinner first and then you leave an hour or two before closing, not go to a house party or because you are too drunk, but because you are tired and very much ready to go home and put your PJ’s on.
However you’re not quite at the point where you just go to bed when you get home, oh no, sure you are still young Instead you go home, eat your food in your PJ’s while watching 3-4 episodes of a show on Netflix. You also drink a pint of water in the vain hope that this will somehow help you with your recovery in the morning. Then the next morning you wake up feeling like you have been hit with a sledge hammer, attempt to function like a normal human while looking like a battered zombie, and spend the day reliving your night out, but instead of laughing about it like you did in your youth, you keep questioning why the fuck you went out in the first place. You have the fear, but instead of it being a result of your drunken antics, it’s because you realise how far behind in life you feel you are, and then you make a plan promise to eat more green vegetables, join a gym and work towards a promotion, while you eat dry cereal from the box and watch a Disney film.