99% of my friends are more fun than me—if your definition of fun, like many people’s, involves a continued willingness to be spontaneous, drink copiously, dance endlessly, and stay out late. I have my moments—and I fucking love to dance—but they are relegated to that fleeting, very occasional category. I’ve struggled with this in the past, wondering perhaps if I’m simply not trying hard enough to be textbook fun, until it dawned on me that the very act of trying to be fun renders me, well, pretty un-fun. I’ve also, thankfully, grown into my skin enough to realize that I’m a pretty okay human sans the constant need for nightlife, and that other people (if they’re my kind of people) will think so too.
That said, I’m still surrounded by many friends and acquaintances who love (and in some cases, live) to party. It’s even considered work for a few of them—the DJs and promoters whose lifestyles seem great when I’m viewing them on Instagram, holed up in bed, but whose actuality would probably send me straight to the psych ward. And let’s be clear—these pals really are working, and it’s not always easy, or fun, or free. So, I’m not critiquing the lifestyle itself—it’s a blast for some people, or, at the least, financially rewarding—I just know now, after ample efforts trying to fight it, that it’s generally not for me. You can only stay up ‘til 5am as the only girl not on coke for so long, and my willingness to do so has finally taken a bow.
I’ve noticed, though, that I occupy a pretty empty space. A lot of my friends who vocalize their lost interest in the late night scene still find themselves compelled to stick it out night after night for the supposed sake of pleasing others. I’m almost always the first one to break the ice, to hand over the “I’m out” card, and inevitably, a few faces perk up with the relief that now they too can comfortably bounce. This inability to bite the bullet makes it seem as if, purely by heading home before 3am, a person is insulting the very character of those who chose to stay out, or, even more disturbing, negating their own self-worth. But that’s absurd—character is not built upon alcohol intake or the submission to social pressure. I’ve been told, at least, (by rappers everywhere) that it’s more about doing you, and if that you would like to get your sleepy ass to bed, then that you should do.
My point is that nightlife is not a requirement, though it often seems viewed as such given how many times I’ve been served “but you’re twenty-three!”–as if I’m only really young if I’m constantly drunk, dancing, and having someone else’s definition of fun. A person’s appreciation for it, or lack thereof, should not be a make-or-break signifier of whether or not they’re “cool.” I love a good cocktail (or three), I like to go out (to bars, or a great place to dance)…and, a lot of the time, I also like to stay home and read. It’s what works for me and, inevitably, what works for you will be a little different.
If you have the stamina and the desire to do it up every night, I applaud you (and also wonder how?), but if you don’t, I highly recommend releasing yourself from the idea that you should. I don’t care if you’re twenty-one, or twenty-three, or twenty-five, or you’re trying to live a la #YOLO. No, if you’re not enjoying yourself, don’t fake it, don’t keep wasting your time—privilege the things that don’t leave you feeling drained every night, the activities that won’t have you pre-planning your exit. No one worth keeping around will love you any less.