Getting older means letting go of worries of missing out

In my twenties, I had migraines pretty frequently.

In my twenties, I went out on the town at least once a week (if not three times a week), and I lived to tell the tale.  It’s true that I didn’t drink every time I went out, but I certainly did have more than a few adult beverages in my day.

I remember moving in Athens in 2004 and meeting people who were a little older than me—say, in their thirties—who wouldn’t join me for rock shows once they learned how late things usually get started here in this college town.

Here’s how it went down nine times out of ten when I tried to get my “old” (read: 30+) friends to go out with me.

Me: “Want to go see So-and-So Friday night?”

Friend: “Oh, I love that band. What time do they start?”

Me: “Well, the bill says doors are at 10 and there are two opening bands, so…they’ll probably go on at 12:30.”

Friend (with a laugh): “Um, no. I like to be in bed by eleven.”

I would tease my friends after hearing such things, but internally I was thinking, “What in the world are these people doing with their lives? They are missing out on so much! All the fun starts after their bedtime!  How do they ever see any live music? What do they do, wake up at, like, 8am or something? They are missing out!”

Fast forward a few years and now I’m the old friend, and I have zero regrets about this.  Once in awhile I’ll make an exception and stay up late (if a favorite band is playing or if Jim is playing a show—and often he is the reason a band is one of my favorites!). But those nights are few and far between—usually I am safely ensconced in my little house shortly after dark (if not before) and, as much as I might reminisce about those late nights, I am happy to wake up in the morning and have the full day ahead of me.

My friends with kids tend to say that the kids are the reason they no longer socialize later in the evenings. Some of them lament the loss of their social life.

Though I don’t usually say it aloud, I personally blame my health in this arena—this despite the fact that I had migraines in my twenties when I was a night owl.

Recently I had a realization, though: maybe it’s not the migraines, and maybe it’s not the kids.  Maybe it’s not the day jobs, and maybe it’s not anything like that.  Perhaps we are just getting older and don’t have that pressing need to make sure we catch everything—I know that I am no longer nearly as worried as I used to be about missing out.

A decade ago, I’d look at my “old” friends and think, “Wow, I’ll never be like that.” I admit it—there was a little pity there for them.  But now that I’m solidly in my mid-thirties, I go to bed before midnight, miss out on 90% of the things this town has to offer, and have no regrets.

Turns out getting older isn’t half bad.

Have any of you had the experience where you think there’s some other factor (say, migraines) dictating your life, only to realize that perhaps your habits are growing and changing because you yourself are growing and changing?

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