Earlier today, a colleague of mine and I got into a discussion about all of the shit that goes south once you hit 30. It was spurred by my decision to abstain from alcohol and sugar after 5p.m. on weekdays and exercising more regularly, because I’ll sleep like butt otherwise. Then I watched the music video for Taylor Swift’s 22 and started missing my 20s hardcore. Like, my heart kind of aches a bit when I think about this decade. Don’t get me wrong, my 30s have treated me very well: I have disposable income, I traveled outside of the United States, I met and married the love of my life, and I managed to trick my credit union into giving me a loan to buy a house. But man, I got away with so much shit in my 20s:
Healthy Eating? Dieting? Are You Speaking English?
Eat Chick-Fil-A for every meal? Check. How about a pint of Ben & Jerry’s at midnight? Sure, why not?! Happy hour Mon-Fridays followed by even more binge drinking on the weekends? Bring it on! Perhaps this is me looking back through rose-colored glasses, but I feel like none of my horrible habits really interfered that much with my health. I could go out for happy hour (which would quickly escalate into me staying out until 2 in the morning), then get up the next day, eat some greasy food, and DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN THAT NIGHT. And I actually lost weight while working retail and eating garbage in college. Now if I eat a large, rich meal, I get a food hangover (totally a thing; Google that shit), and if I indulge in a night of heavy drinking, I get the shakes and I’m out of commission until, like, 4p.m. the next day. I haven’t had a hard night of drinking since July of 2016.
Doing Stupid Shit and Blaming it on Being Young
Sure can’t get away with this now. If I made a faux pas at work in my 20s, I could just shrug it off and blame it on not being in the workforce long enough to know better. Something tells me that if I tried that in my 30s, I’d get an eye roll and a swift firing. Or maybe an EAP referral due to suspected developmental disabilities.
Spending Money I Didn’t Have
I partied like a goddamn rockstar in my 20s. Could I afford to? No. Did I get into a tiny bit of credit card debt? Yes. Did I care? Mostly-no. I knew that time in my life would be fleeting, and Iived by the mantra, “You only live once” (before YOLO was a thing). Was this incredibly stupid? Yes. While I made some fond memories (and did pay off that debt), I cringe at the fact that I would buy, like, eight $12 cocktails at a time, whipping out my Capital One credit card like it was a black Amex. Who the hell was I? Now I have to breathe into a paper bag if my credit card balance goes over a certain limit every month while obsessively checking my spending categories on my statements and Mint.com. And forget about buying eight $12 cocktails. I’m good with one, maybe two if i’m feeling frisky (this also ties back into the first point on this list). But eight? I can find better ways to spend that money. Like putting it into my 401K.
So, yeah, when I see Taylor Swift wearing cute little cat ears and lying on the beach with her friends and singing about being happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time, I get a little pang in my heart.
Or maybe that’s my liver residually trembling from all the alcohol I consumed back then.