I was sure it would last until my last breath. That we would parade the streets, nearly drunk from wine and whatever liquor you craved, for weekends that we, at the moment, could not imagine. It felt as if we were destined to conquer every nightclub in our big little friendly city, meeting new friends, flirting with potential suitors, and earning the acceptance, approval, and applause of ordinary strangers. It was as if we were living the high school and college days we wished we had. Days we spent hiding in a closet, suppressing our personalities, and sacrificing the popularity we should have achieved.
Sundays were reserved for cheap drinks, cheap tricks, and our extroversion to recklessly frolic through inebriated bodies. We cared little about what we said, who we met, and the things we did. Work at 7 a.m.? It didn’t matter. We were crawling into bed at three in the morning, and if we woke up in time to greet our bosses, life had successfully succumbed to our will. Rent is due tomorrow? So what? We were buying an expensive meal on the menu because we were high on friendship, numb to responsibility, and Drake said YOLO.
We were waking up to good morning texts from unknown phone numbers whose owners were more attractive the night before when the lights were low, our hormones were out to play, and we wanted nothing more than the thrill of capturing the attention of the unknown cutie swaying gently to the melodic beat.
When we returned to normalcy, sobering from the rush of the night and the effects of the surprise mystery drink the shirtless bartender provided, we were hopeful. We wanted to change the game with our talent. Uplift and energize the world with our passions. Transform our lives by achieving our goals. Live out our dreams while wide awake. Get boo’d up to the right soul. Do right by those we knew and strived to know.
We routinely compared the notes of our lives on the daily. Sharing who made us giggle, lamenting those that caused vexation and frustration, and sending the funny meme that brightened the mood. We would complain about rising gas prices, caution about the dangerous first date, discuss the parent that didn’t understand and the friend that betrayed our trust, text free Britney, and most importantly, understood the need for release and escape.
Our biological configuration made us lonely, but we were never alone. Routine gatherings filled our social tanks. There were debates about pop stars, banter about celebrity gossip, risqué games, the rare conversation that led to a teardrop or two. And when it got personal, it never got confrontational, because we knew, deep down, it was all love, never malice.
We were invincible. Carefree. 20-something. Posting thirst traps on Instagram, taking perfect photos for the likes, buying outfits with a party in mind, and lip-syncing and dancing every night.
Then I changed. Not all at once, but over time, like leaves shedding summer to embrace fall.
My alarm clock was no longer set to cheap drinks and cheap tricks. Nightclubs became noisy, too busy, and irritating. The cutie bobbing by the bar was just that, a cutie–void of depth, ambition, and substance. Crawling into bed at three in the morning became exhausting and unwise with 8 a.m. meetings on the schedule, professional decisions to make, and a team to manage. Spontaneous dinners became infrequent, ultimately replaced by the work you do after work. Our preciously reserved Sundays for cruising the streets and seeing how many guys we could meet ended abruptly when I transitioned from me to we. Buying an entire bottle of wine became useless when I couldn’t make it past the second glass.
I’m not invincible. Life knocked me around a little bit. Showed me that in mere seconds, my tomorrow can be the antithesis of today. So I changed. I found responsibilities, practiced a sleep and health routine to maximize productivity, and frequently passed on the latest pair of kicks to invest into that growing company. I’m now sharing my talent with the world, inspiring the youth with my passion, checking goals off the list, living things seen only in my sleep, and creeping to that altar.
There will always be time for debates about the celebrities we will never meet, trivial banter, and the occasional nights where I relive the feelings of yester-me to ensure that I never grow old. But right now, I want deeper conversations that stimulate my mind. I need to experience life outside of the big little friendly city to become globally attuned, broaden my perspectives, and appreciate the beauty of our hard to interpret planet. I strive to marinate in life’s moments because tomorrow comes fast and ends faster. I cultivate my future because life gets harder, and the world is less forgiving.
I needed to shrink my circle of friendships because if I didn’t, they’d stunt my growth. I no longer have an interest in living life in social media reality. I’m too real, too genuine, too human, and possess too many imperfections for the pressures of technology to consume me. And I desperately need to be surrounded by people who aren’t afraid to be real with me, to struggle and thrive with me.
And I know that it feels like I have abandoned you. I haven’t. I still support you. I root for your happiness and well-being. And I hope you achieve all that you want out of life. I’ve simply decided to take a left turn onto 30-something road rather than continue to travel down 20-something lane.