Have You Found Yourself Not Going Out Much After You Turned 30?

It’s a funny thing- a day or two before New Years Eve, my roommates asked me if I was going to any kind of party or bar or would watch the ball drop on the big day and I was immediately just like ‘no.’

I didn’t feel at all bad about it. In fact, I didn’t feel one teeny weeny eentsy weentsy bit bad. I was actually relieved. I liked the idea of doing nothing on New Years Eve.

And both of them agreed. ‘No one seems to be doing anything for New Years,’ they said happily. They both had no particular plans- one of them was going to a friends house where they’d have some wine, but that was it. It was almost a gleeful realization- we don’t necessarily have to do anything for New Years and we’re still happy.

I actually ended up working a small but well-paying event on New Years Eve and then spending the rest of the night (the last 15 minutes of 2014) with my mom. We stayed in and watched the ball drop on tv. It was peaceful.

At first I thought it was a ‘being single on New Years Eve’ thing but that didn’t seem to be it at all. Many of my other friends who were in relationships or even married had a similar experience. ‘I stayed in. It was nice.’ was the most popular answer to the New Years Eve question.

And I wondered, ‘does this come with the territory of the 30s?’

For me, it doesn’t really have anything to do with the 30s. It started in my 20s. I’ve never been a huge clubber. I love house parties and chill bars, and can definitely throw back a few drinks, but even when I was 21, I was never a major partier. But perhaps it’s easier to admit that in the 30s.

Our awesome blogger friend Karen over at Confetti and Curves (she’s a sweetheart and has an incredible beauty blog) interviews other bloggers all the time with multiple questions- but my favorite is always: Describe your ideal Saturday night. The answers are just about always in favor of staying in, or going out but keeping things chill:

“At the ripe old age of 32, I’d rather spend the night in then go out. My Husband and I may just go to the bookstore and hang out, play video games, and order take out. I like to keep it low key since my weeks between school and work are so hectic.” -Jamie, http://www.sincerelymissdesign.com

Casual dinner and a movie out (with a GIANT bucket of buttered popcorn), followed by relaxing on the couch with more TV. (I love TV, what can I say?)” –Amber, https://amberunglamor.wordpress.com/ (I love this answer!)

“Pyjamas + Duvet + My Boyfriend + Chinese takeaway = Perfect Night in.” -Amy, www.blondeamy.wordpress.com

“Takeaway, a great film & a bottle of Prosecco.” -Laura, www.littlelauras.com

“On an ideal Saturday night, the kids are getting along with each other and agree to help me clean up our messes before we all sit down and watch a movie together.” -Ashley, www.phytopretty.com

“A night in with food, comfort and a good conversation.” -Hajara, https://chocolatefrosst.wordpress.com

And the list goes on. It’s fascinating.

Sometimes I wonder- Is it just more acceptable now to stay in more often than go out? Are people just more comfortable admitting it when they’re older? Or does it just seem like a trend to me but actually isn’t one at all?

Are you guys going out less in your 30s? And are you happy about it? Or do you feel like you’re missing out?

Or are you out partying right this second and way too drunk to even read this post? It is Friday night, after all.

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Last year I actually did go to a party on New Years Eve with some coworkers in Indianapolis (we traveled there for work). After working all day, it ended up being lot of fun after all. For sure, staying in isn’t always the best answer 😉

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Sending Hundreds of Invites to Your 30th Birthday

There’s this NY Times article that both normalizes the 30th birthday and simultaneously makes it a lot more intimidating.

The writer starts by letting us know that the 30th birthday has now become an occasion to celebrate, complete with champagne and festivities. There’s no more need to be embarrassed or to hide from this landmark birthday. Great news! The 30th has become a cool rite of passage-  the contemporary sweet 16.

Then the article takes a strange turn and inflates the birthday party to epic proportions, with celebrations so huge that entire Facebook friend lists are invited from different stages of life (the piece is from 2003, so FB isn’t referenced…but 600+ people were invited to these birthday parties using some means of communication…and I’m impressed this was done without Facebook, actually). For some of the parties, there are invitees from the “life stage”s of age 0-6, 6-18, College, Post-College, and Work. These behemoth blowouts strike me as more overwhelming than the 30th birthday itself.

I mean, I’m glad that 30th birthdays are getting to be more cause for celebration than intimidation, but I don’t think that making my birthday party into a networking event would make it any more fun. In fact, that kind of party seems terribly uncomfortable. I don’t think I’d know what to say to the hundreds of people I hadn’t spoken to in years. That is, if they even showed up.

I’m happy to celebrate with the same close group of friends I always celebrate with. For me, having my favorite people still with me after all this time is good cause for a party.

How To Be a Third Wheel

The other day I went to a Barbecue in upstate New York. It was hosted by a close friend of mine and her boyfriend. When I got there, my friend said to me apologetically, “you’re going to meet a lot of people you don’t know.” What she didn’t mention was “you’re going to meet a lot of people you don’t know…and all of their significant others who you also don’t know.”

Once I went inside, I figured out that everyone at the BBQ was either married or engaged. And I felt very, very single. And very much like a third wheel.

This made me want to hide.

This made me want to hide away. At home. Somewhere inside my hoodie.

I didn’t realize that married and engaged couples would become the majority once I turned thirty. When I was in my twenties and would go to parties, I seem to remember a fair mix of singles and couples present. I also remember lots of alcohol being thrown down, and lots of stumbling home at 3am…or later. Was it a different world back then? After the BBQ this month, I caught the Metronorth back to Queens at the wee hour of 7pm (!)…with a nice newlywed couple who held hands as they told me the story of how they met.

To be fair, I was half of a couple for just about the entirety of my twenties…a serial monogamist from 21 to 29. And I basically saw the world of my twenties through ‘couple-eyes’ (yes, this is a thing)…which for me then meant: half of a couple = the definition of who I am.

So I didn’t totally get the whole third wheel stigma thing.

When I was part of a couple, I actually loved hanging out with single friends. I mean, it was fun to double date, but when I had a single friend hang out with me and my boyfriend at the time, I loved it just as much. All I wanted was for my friend to feel welcome and comfortable, single or not. A third wheel has this strange solo definition- they’re an extra piece- suddenly we have… a tricycle? A whole new entity. But that entity doesn’t have to be bad. I never thought it was bad before.

Of course, I very much understand the third wheel stigma- ‘couple-alone-time’ is important (as much as regular alone-time)- and a third person tagging along uninvited to a date night walk along the beach would probably not be the best. But the key word here is ‘uninvited.’ When you’re a third person invited along with a couple, you’re not a tag-along, you’re a guest. You’re a friend.

But when I first became single again, a few months ago, I didn’t feel like a guest. No matter how much a couple tried to make me feel included, I felt like I was invading their space and time. I felt like a lonely half who needed another. A missing piece. An extra part.

It took me awhile to remember how much I enjoyed hanging with single people when I was half of a couple…how much I wanted them to NOT feel like third wheels. It took me awhile to remember that they weren’t third wheels to me then…I saw them as full people- totally complete on their own. It’s weird how hard it is to see yourself the way you see others. Why would a couple be better than a single? What does that even mean?

I didn’t end up having a bad time at the barbecue. I’ll admit, I felt sad at first…wistful for coupledom. But then I started to have fun, once I settled in. I began to ask questions. I talked to my friend…and her boyfriend. I relaxed and ate barbecue. And I started to let go of looking at myself as an extra. I listened to stories… how couples met, where they lived, what they did. I enjoyed my ride home on the Metronorth with the newlyweds, who had a great first-meeting story and were both super nice. And I stopped feeling like a third wheel. And I stopped feeling alone. I didn’t feel like half a couple. I just felt like me.

 

 

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