“You’re Going to Regret Not Going Out More” WRONG

The inspiration for this post started with a text I received yesterday evening:

“Causing trouble tonight?”

It’s Friday at 6:00 pm. I’ve taught 9 fitness classes this week in addition to working my 9 to 5. I’ve also participated in 3 interviews because it’s job search time. As I boil pasta for dinner and anticipate lounging on the couch, I reply:

“No, no trouble. You know I’m a grandma and love to relax on my Friday nights.”

The immediate response:

“You’re going to regret not going out more when you look back in 10 years.”

My blood boils. I like to think that I am level-headed. I don’t get agitated easily. I was agitated.

Why is it that we think that making the most of life in your early to mid 20’s necessitates late nights at bars and hangovers on the weekends? Why is it a bad thing to stay in? Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way. Let’s break down the statement.

“In 10 years…”

Ok, so theoretically I get married and squeeze out a few kids and then look back to my 20-something life. Fine. I support self reflection.

As a 25-year old, I looked back recently, as some said I would when I was 15, to my high school years. Back then I was told to enjoy youth while I could, do as much as possible, etc. And back then I also preferred spending time with my parents (because they were and are awesome) over driving to some house party. I worked my ass off, got into a relatively good school, and discovered that growing up and experiencing new things was better than life as a teenager. I look back to 10 years ago and think, “Wow, I’ve come a long way and I think I’m figuring out what life is about. Life isn’t so much about working harder, it’s about working smarter so that you have time and energy to focus on what is important: quality relationships over numerous relationships, quality experiences over fancy things, and generally being a good person. I feel better about who I am now than I did at 15. No regrets on NOT going to parties, passing out, making out, whatever.

“you’re going to regret..”

What exactly does regret mean in this case? Does this mean I will say, “I wish I’d gotten trashed a few more times on Friday nights when I was 25!” If so, what life events will spur this feeling? This is predicated on the fact that I will probably dislike life at 35. Will I really? I do not see myself having children by that time. I’m not even sure I’ll be married. But let’s assume that I do, just for shits and giggles. I will have made several decisions that will lead me to that state. Let me highlight the key word: decisions. I myself am accountable for my actions and I think that alone is reason to eradicate this notion of regret. Unless I suddenly fall into a trance, I will continue to have agency in my life. Which means that I am responsible for where I end up in 10 years and will likely make decisions that are in line with my goals.

Furthermore, this notion of regret also assumes a type of personality: that I will wish I could take a break from being a mother and go and do crazy fun things as a single adult. I do not want to be a boring mom. I think I can make parental life exciting. I also think that I am a creative person that can find ways to make life as a parent completely fulfilling. I also expect to love and care for my husband. I want to have the type of relationship in which we come together as two INDEPENDENT people that are comfortable spending time apart. We won’t be sewed together at the hip at our wedding. So theoretically I won’t want to revert to my single state and run away from him to a bar full of single and likely less than honorable guys. I also expect to have friends that can socialize without a late night and tons of drinks.

And finally, “Not going out more”

That’s a vague statement. I go out all the time. I am out on the average weekday for 10+ hours working my ass off. So what do you really mean? Getting sloppy at a bar that smells like mildew, B.O., and cigarette smoke? Or do you mean reading in a bookstore with a cup of tea? Let’s assume the former because let’s be honest, my friend meant the former.

We all know that excessive alcohol consumption is bad. So there’s that. We also know that radically disrupting your circadian rhythm with weird sleep schedules is also bad. And let’s be honest, if I’m not disrupting my normal pattern for something other than exciting travel, I’m going to be crabby the next day. I’m also going to have a hangover. I may even have a shaky memory of what I did the night before. How is that productive? It shits on the whole weekend. It keeps me from making the most of the outdoors the next day. In my opinion it also makes time fly faster, thereby wasting your time away from the office.

This may seem like a rant, but all this is to say that I am confident I will not look back on my life now with any sort of regret. I’m working hard, living in a beautiful place, and trying new things. I get out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. I meet new people on a regular basis.

This statement, my dear friend, also implies that you know more about me and what I want than I do. It’s based on a belief that you know what’s best for me. Hm. I’m pretty sure I can decide that…

Sorry friend, but if you are attempting to guilt trip me into joining you in your drunken adventures so that you yourself can feel validated it’s not going to work. Fulfillment at 25 is not about “going out more.” It’s about finding yourself.