What a Difference a Decade or Two Makes

Well, kids? As much as I thought it would take place waaaaaayyyy in the future, the inevitable has finally happened. Yep. I'm in my last year of my 30s. As in I've been 39 since August, which means the big 4-0 is right around the corner. And even though in my mind, I'm pretty much convinced I'm still about 25, unfortunately the "symptoms" of being almost 40 are starting to pop up when I least expect them.

Take last weekend, for example. At around 6:00pm on Friday night, I went upstairs and took off my makeup, and changed out of my work clothes and into my standard Friday night uniform of yoga pants and a sweatshirt. And just as I found myself all settled on the couch scoping out whatever new Hallmark movie was premiering that night, a text came through to my phone.

It was an old friend from high school, asking if I might be up for meeting out for a drink or two. It took me about 10 seconds to make up my mind and text back with an answer.

Duh. Even though I knew it would require the additional effort of getting off the couch, putting regular clothes back on, and applying a new layer of makeup -- I totally said yes -- because it's so darn hard to get anyone to go out on a Friday night these days. (Sad, but true.)

And I then my friend texted back after I replied, and I laughed out loud -- because the question of whether or not meeting up around 9:00pm was "too late" came up.

I started thinking back to my college days, and how if my college self could see my 39-year-old self, she'd roll her eyes both out of disgust and disappointment. I mean ... 9:00pm? Seriously? We're not that old ... right?

And then I got to thinking about how weekends at 39 may be quite different from 19, but they sure beat the heck out of the weekends I had when I was 29.

Let's compare the three just for laughs.

Saturday night at 19 years old: You bet your bottom dollar I was headed out for the night -- but not before 11:00pm, of course, because leaving one's dorm room before 11:00pm was not only lame and desperate, but was also strictly frowned upon. As for the night's activities? They may or may not have involved a frat house, depending on whether or not there was a home football game that day. And if a frat house wasn't involved, a seedy bar most likely was the venue of choice for the evening. But either way, cheap beer, black pants and/or a black skirt, and childish behavior was definitely on the night's agenda.

Saturday night at 29 years old: Wow. 19 may have been one big, raging party, but it's safe to say 29 was the total opposite. On a typical Saturday, I was sitting on the couch at home watching some sort of cartoon movie. With a toddler. Who may or may not have slept past 4:30am that morning -- leaving me exhausted, borderline crazy, and completely at my wit's end. When I did finally manage to get him in bed for the night, a glass of wine was likely poured. Whether I stayed awake long enough to actually consume it was a toss up. Yeah, 29 was kind of a blur. But the cuddles from my little guy sure were nice.

Fast forward to present day.

Saturday night at 39 years old: In a crazy twist of fate, last week I'd actually been invited to a charity gala, because my best friend who invited me is also 39, making her old enough to sit on the board for things like charity galas. And of course, this required getting dressed up in a slinky little black dress and a pair of way-too-high-heels, because duh -- the odds of being invited to another event where the expected attire is anything classier than nice jeans and a cute top are pretty much slim to none. I gotta take advantage of this stuff when I can. But just as I was about to head out the door, I ran back upstairs and grabbed my Australian Dream (a.k.a. my foot cramp cream) -- because the odds of me getting through an entire night without a foot cramp if I'm wearing heels are also slim to none.

(Spoiler alert -- the night was a blast and somehow I made it through foot cramp-free. Wonders never cease.)

Yeah. I may be turning 40 fairly soon, but in a lot of ways, this getting older business really isn't all that bad. Hey, at least now I have going to the actual movie theater as opposed watching a movie from my living room to look forward to. (And as an added bonus, my kid finally sleeps.)

But wait. Hold up for a second. If I'm already carrying foot cramp cream in my evening bag at 39, I can't help but wonder -- just what is 49 gonna look like? (There better not be Ben Gay involved.)

Hmm. While I can't foresee the future, somehow I'm hoping that if nothing else, Saturday nights at 49 will involve good times with good friends -- reminiscing about all the wild and great times we had in our younger days. It is weird that I kind of can't wait?


About: Mary Hawkins
Mary J. Hawkins is an accomplished editor, writer, and social media enthusiast who has been working in the digital media space since 2009. In a former life, she was the author and owner of The Mommyologist, a humor blog centered around the changes that happen after kids arrive on the scene. She is currently the full-time Senior Editor of Audience Development for CafeMom, and has been a part of their team for the past 5 years.  Mary also recently launched a lifestyle and travel blog called “Catching the Next Wave,” which centers around the new phase of life she’s navigating as a recently divorced single mom of one charismatic 10-year-old and a pint-sized Shih-Tzu.  When she manages to find time to detach herself from her laptop, Mary leads an active lifestyle. She has a strong passion for travel and welcomes every opportunity to explore new places and experience new adventures. She is also a huge fan of Pilates and Yoga – though she doesn’t get to class quite as often as she’d like.  Mary lives in a small town in the middle of Connecticut, though she’d rather live in the city, on the coast, or a combination of both.