For my 23rd birthday I invited my grad school friends out to celebrate at a bar near Harvard Square. That night, one of my friends, who was a few years older than me, asked why I had set the party so late. “So late?” I asked in disbelief. The event only started at 8pm. To me, this sounded reasonable because it was an after-dinner-drinks sort of celebration. In fact, I was originally thinking about setting the event to 9pm, because that was closer to the time that “pre-gaming” started in college. My friend, older and wiser, said that he prefers small dinner parties that begin at 6pm or 7pm and end before midnight. This description did not sound like a night-out-on-the-town birthday bash to my 23-year old brain.
Fast forward to the present, it seems ludicrous to me that I used to start my night plans so late. I have memories in college of heading uptown to a bar at around 10pm, after all the “adults” and families had cleared out. Then, we would bar hop across town until close at 2am and grab a slice of pizza for a $1 at everyone’s usual joint because it was one of the only places open. Today, I am asleep by 10pm and am mortified by the thought that eating “just one” slice of cheese pizza at 2am was, in my college mind, considered being “good.”
Tonight, I have plans to meet up with a group that I met on a hiking excursion (more on that here). The invitation is set for the evening, which could mean that I may not get home until after 9pm—scandalous! I am at home right now, in bed, blogging to you. I have been up since 5am and my body is happy to sink into my mattress and stay rooted here until the dawn of the next day. When I return home from a “day” (of work, errands, activities, etc.), my body and brain figuratively hang up their hats and let out a collective sigh. It feels good to be home. My body enjoys this predictability and sometimes its hard to combat my comfort even when a promising night out presents itself.
I know that some others feel the same way as I do about evening plans. There are many memes to confirm this including the classic “I can’t go out *cough* I’m sick” one and a funny one I found recently “You know you’re getting old when your favorite kind of plans are canceled plans.” I am certainly not sick and, objectively, not old. Like most things, I know that my reluctance to go out at night has to do with my mindset. When I come home, I make the slow, but deliberate transition into lazy, ready-to-go-to-sleep mode. I lie in bed and fiddle on my laptop as my mind and body unwinds. When I am in this state, it can become tempting to send a quick text excusing myself from the night’s activities. This is, of course, not the best way to handle things.
When it comes to evening plans, preparation is important. If you come home, get into your pajamas, and binge Netflix, then, you are going to have a hard time keeping your evening plans. However, if you come home knowing that you will leave again, you can plan different activities for yourself that will not make you feel so glued in one place. Additionally, happily anticipating your evening plans is a surefire way to mentally commit yourself to following through with your plans. We all feel tired sometimes and may not want to go out. However, other times, we feel tired because we are mentally exhausted from work or other activities. Occasional evening plans can be a much-needed break in one’s routine. Having something to look forward to at the end of the day is a good way to reinvigorate yourself even after a hard or long day.
When we become open-minded, eager, and willing everything becomes a little more enjoyable. I am not a night person, but I can pretend to be one this evening, because it will allow me to meet interesting people and enjoy myself. In life, we do not always have control over the events around us. However, we can always, always, always control the way we see things, the ways in which react, and our own happiness. With that little internal pep talk, I think, Dear Reader, I am finally ready to enjoy a night out.