When I Was Your Age…

Myday“It’s Saturday night why aren’t you out with your friends?’

“I prefer to be at home, I’m not really in to clubbing and stuff anymore”

“You’re young, you shouldn’t be stuck in the house all the time. You need to go out more. When I was your age I was out all the time…”

It’s at this point that I lose the will to live and allow my brain to wander.

Why do people have to put other people in tiny boxes? Why can’t some people simply accept that we are not all the same and that those of us who don’t, can’t or won’t follow the “norm” may actually be happy with the choices that we’ve made – even if others don’t, can’t or won’t understand them.

For years older people have been telling me that I need to ‘get out more’ and have questioned my (in their opinion) lack of a social life and apparently I’m not alone. Young people – usually girls – all over the place who simply want to be left in peace are being pressured by parents and other older relatives to go out whether they want to or not. Jeez, what’s wrong with these people? Don’t they know that the new and final series of Boardwalk Empire has started?

In their day, as these elders are so keen to tell us, they were out all the time at various clubs and parties or simply hanging out. They had an army of friends spread out across the land. They were always out having fun, why oh why can’t we be the same! Well I can only speak for myself so…

Here’s why:

In the words of Kandi Burruss ‘Don’t think I’m not’

Don’t assume that nothing’s going on. The activities and their frequency may not be the same as yours once were but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening. It may just be happening in a restaurant once a month instead of a club once a week.

Bought the T-Shirt sHIRT

Contrary to some people’s beliefs, some of us hermits have already done the whole going out to clubs, bars, parties etc and have simply grown out of it.

Personally, I screamed my head off at more concerts in my teens than most people go to in their entire lifetimes, I’ve made out with a French guy whose actual real name was ‘Pierre’ at a club in Central London, ended up going back to some random guys flat in Brighton, and got drunk, peed in the men’s toilets because I was desperate and the queue for the women’s was ridiculous and had to be practically carried home by my two friends – one on either side of me – in Italy. (And these are the things that I can actually mention!) In short, I’ve been there and have no desire to go back. Now, I prefer going out for a meal with friends or seeing a good show at the theatre. Sure, I’m not averse to a night out at a club once in a while but, at the risk of sounding ninety, I’d need to go somewhere age appropriate. Raving with a bunch of eighteen-year-olds smacks of desperation and denial as to one’s age, plus the music is shite.

I have nothing to prove to anyone. I’m thirty now so going out and getting rat-arsed every weekend or sleeping with a bunch of sweaty guys I met at a club whilst in a drunken haze doesn’t appeal to me anymore. It didn’t appeal to me at twenty-five either to be fair, and that’s okay. It’s not a judgement of how other people choose to spend their time but rather an acknowledgement of the way I prefer to spend mine. If some people find this ‘boring’ or ‘dull’ then may I remind you that it is not my job to entertain you.

Lifestyle

This is not the 1920s. Things have moved on a little. Socialising is a positive and necessary part of life, and I agree that we are a more isolated society and worse off for it, but consider the lives that we lead? I never get home from work earlier than 7pm by which time I’m knackered after the two hour journey home, but my day isn’t over.

Apparently if I’m serious about becoming a writer then I need to write a little every day. If I haven’t had time to do some during my lunch hour then I have to do it when I get home. The same goes for reading. If I’m looking to change jobs then there are application forms that need to be completed, then there are the evenings when I’m at the gym because in our modern society to be fat is now a criminal offence punishable by being publicly shamed and blamed for everything from NHS debt to the creation of Islamic State. Dirty dishes and clothes refuse to wash themselves, dinner refuses to cook itself (or at the very least put itself in the microwave) and, if like me you have to leave for work at the crack of dawn then you have to make a choice: iron your clothes in the evening so you have time for breakfast the following morning or iron you clothes in the morning, have no time for breakfast and spend the entire morning apologising to your colleagues for your angry sounding belly.

I know that all of this is incredibly tedious and should be the concern of middle-aged people with kids, but for some of us, this is our reality.

EmptyDosh

People of my age didn’t fuck up the economy but we’re the ones paying the price for the ones that did. I don’t even have a credit card because I’m so cautious about falling in to debt yet I’m working my arse off for shit money because of an economic crash caused by psychopathic bankers and greedy bastard consumers who damn well knew they couldn’t afford a mortgage but went ahead and got a massive one anyway, then had the cheek to complain when it all went tits up. Yes, I’m bitter. I’m bitter because I still have to live at home which is a major heartbreak for any self-respecting adult. As such, going out is not high on my list of priorities. I have two jobs yet can’t afford a glass of the house red so going out regularly isn’t really an option but even if it was…

Misanthropy

…I’m not a huge fan of being around people. I know that sounds awful but I’m afraid it’s true and I know for a fact that I’m not the only person to feel this way. I especially hate having to socialise with people I detest, so I don’t. Friendships are important to me. Real friendships with people I like, trust, respect and have things in common with.   I’m friends with the people I’m friends with because I genuinely like them and not because I’m desperate for people to hang out with.

I’ve been in situations where I was ‘friends’ with people simply because we happened to do the same work or have the same views about one or two things and these forced friendships or ‘forcedships’ always ended up with me putting up with their crap for a while before thinking ‘fuck this! I don’t need you in my life, why am I putting up with this shit?’ before promptly walking away and relegating their existence in my world as nothing more than a distant memory. Seriously, I can’t even remember some of those people’s names!

Both my grandmother and mother used to say “too much friends is no good” and they were right. Don’t believe that? Then ask yourself how many of the people you hung out with back then you are still friends with today?   How many of those were real friendships and how much time, energy and heartache could you have saved yourself if you’d just got rid of them back then instead of clinging on for the sake of racking up numbers and not being judged by others?   Personally I’ve been there, done that and now I’m much too old, wise and protective of my own happiness and well-being to go there ever again.

Melancholy & Depression

More people than ever before are being diagnosed with depression. More younger people than ever before are being diagnosed with depression. It’s not surprising. I was depressed for years when three years after graduating I still couldn’t find a decent job. I felt, and sometimes still feel like a failure. Like many others, I was also angry because I felt I had been lied to. All the crap about studying hard and getting a degree to improve your prospects in life and here we are, nowhere near what we were promised. We kept our end of the deal, the other side reneged and there was nothing we could do about it. After such a blow some of us just need some time to adjust. Plans need to be re-examined, goals changed, priorities re-arranged.

So we get it. You guys had fun well into your nineties but if people like me were able to buy a house for £60,000, walk in and out of employment freely because there were so many jobs available and knew that working hard would actually pay off then maybe more of us would be having fun for longer too.

As it is, some of us are having fun in our own ways – ways that allow us to forget our troubles just like you once wanted to forget yours. For some, that means doing what you did and spending every weekend out, surrounded by friends, for others it’s quiet contemplation or curling up with a good book at the end of a shitty day in a job you hate but have to do because there’s nothing else. I ask that you respect people’s choices instead of making unhelpful comparisons.

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