Thursday, May 24, 2012

Roaring Twenties: Zozzled - Part II

There's a quote from Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture that I can't seem to find online...but it's from her mother, telling her something to the effect of "You can't have regrets - I've basically ignored my twenties." And then there's another quote from the sister character that says, "You sound like you're in the epilogue to 'Felicity.'" So either of those quotes would probably be appropriate here. 

Back to reality.

But first, the next installment.

Last weekend was that first glorious weekend in May when it's almost summer. It's in the eighties during the day, the humidity is still at tolerable levels, the sky clearly blue. Everything feels clean and crisp. Winter has been shaken off, but the heavy weight of summer has not yet blanketed the city. There are only a few weekends of the year that are like this, with the days stretching a bit longer with each delayed sunset. The next time the weather is this beautiful, the evenings will lid the days sooner and sooner, and the cool breezes will be reminders that hunkering down, not letting go, is right around the corner.

I went kayaking with Legs on Sunday, the first trip of the season, and we were talking about how crazy the last few years have been. All of us in Book Club sort of went through what I refer to as The Wilderness Years around the same time. We dated haphazardly, drank like fish, wore uncomfortable shoes, and made decisions based on the idea that time stretched infinitely out in front of us. 

Not much has changed, I suppose.

I think part of transitioning from one decade to the next is taking stock of what you did in the last decade, deciding what was the folly of youth and the benefit of hindsight, and picking out the parts of yourself that, at this point, are not likely to change. And making the best of them.

In my early twenties, my body was not a temple. I had not yet learned with distinction the cause-and-effect that occurs more succinctly as you get older. If you eat this, you will feel this. If you drink that, you will feel that. If you do not get 8 hours of sleep, you will consume four cups of coffee and have to sit on your hands for the rest of the day because you will then get the shakes. When I was younger, consequences always seemed so much more extreme: cancer, bankruptcy, jail time. 

Now, consequences are more finite and somehow more profound. Hangovers mean lack of productivity and a day lost to an unshakeable fog. Failure to floss means a very disapproving glance from your dentist, and God help you if you stumble into a dermatologist check-up appointment freshly back from a vacation where you might have gotten a tan. Eating fried food can leave a heaviness that lasts for days, and suddenly I have once again embraced the overwhelmingly beautiful concept of a nap.

Not that I'm old - mind you. Not by a long shot. Which is why I view this as the best time of my life: I'm smart enough to know better, but still young enough to weigh the consequences. Staying out late is reserved for nights where I have nothing pressing to do the next day, and while those days are fewer and further between, they still exist. 

We are all still party girls, we Book Clubbers, but in our own way now. Whereas it was common practice to close down a bar on a Tuesday night in years past, now we opt for pricier drinks, better food, and an earlier night - a better quality experience as opposed to quantity - in time, in drinks, and in what we consume. We are older, richer, and smarter. And possibly better-looking, I think. But we still have fun. We are just more discerning about the fun we have.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't still a party girl. But these days, I will never debate the awesome, awesome draw of a good night's sleep and a productive morning. Nothing makes me feel better than being well-hydrated, worked out, productive, and well-rested. Not any amount of vodka or champagne in the world.

Not to say that a well-timed martini or cocktail (or both) isn't also an excellent reward for being so good. But that's the key - it's a reward, not a daily vitamin. My twenty-something liver was punished mightily for confusing the two.

In other news, I'm a week out from thirty. I thought I would be freaking out. I really, honestly did. It feels as though every birthday since 25 was somehow framed in reference to this birthday. But mostly what I feel is excitement - because I have terrific birthday plans, because there are good things happening in my life, and because somehow, by the grace of some benign universal spirit, I managed to end up exactly where I needed to be.

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