Sunday, September 14, 2008

Party Like a Rock Star!

Last night my bff & I took her niece and four of her sisters/girlfriends out on the town in Nashville to celebrate one of the girls' 21st birthday. We figured we had someone who had ushered us into "adulthood" (at least in this regard) and we wanted to help these girls have fun and be safe. So we loaded into the Suburban and headed out for the night.

In my younger days, I can remember coming home from class and/or work, having dinner, then getting ready to go out. We would finally leave around 9:00 PM. (No descent party started before 10:00 PM.) We would roll back in sometime in the wee hours of the morning- sometimes ushering in the sunrise- and fall into bed for a few quick hours of sleep before getting up for the day.

Apparently, this is still pretty much the formula used by today's young adults. My bff and I, however, have converted over to the "mommy/parent" schedule. This involves getting up before the family to race to get things done before the kids can get up and distract us with their different needs. Then we run like race horses throughout the day, cleaning, driving, delivering, picking up, cooking, working, etc, etc, until we tuck kids into bed about 8:00 PM. Then we finish up chores and fall into bed, exhausted and mind racing through tomorrow's agenda.

As the girls were getting ready last night, my bff and I's bodies were winding down. But we were excited by the prospect of going out and dancing. Though this used to be a somewhat regular occurrence, it has dwindled down to less than once a quarter, so there was a certain energy and charge from the anticipation of being out on the town.

We got a bite to eat then headed downtown. The last time bff or I went downtown several things were different than this trip. And we took for granted we would have the same experience as prior trips. Well, we didn't.
  • Last time we went, we didn't pay any cover charges; This time we paid at least $35 by the end of the night for the various bars and clubs.
  • Last time, we got carded and the doormen were nice enough to look very closely to make sure we were old enough; This time they carded the girls, then smirked and waived bff and I on through.
  • Last time we had our hubbies with us and they fawned over us and bought us drinks; This time, we were not drinking and the only guys that looked at us looked like our grandfathers, car salesmen or ancient rock stars on their spiral down hill.
  • Last time, the clubs were a blast. We found several places that played great music and had a ton of fun dancing and giggled all night; This time we didn't find really any good music, good clubs and one of the girls got $20 lifted off of her by a homeless man.
  • Last time we went out about 8:00 and got home about 12:30; This time we got down town about 9:30 and got home about 2:00.

We did get to see and do some fun things that we didn't normally get to do. We saw an entire group of Elvis Impersonators. About 20 spandex-clad Elvis, complete with sunglasses and capes, stopped various bachelorette parties and groups of friends for pictures and laughs.

And we enjoyed each other. Some of the girls even took a turn riding on a mechanical bull. (Not me!!!) We saw every walk of life- beautiful, ugly, young, old, rich, poor.

But I have to tell you, I am NOT 21 anymore. I didn't really think I was, but if there was even the tiniest lingering doubt, it was squelched forever.

My skin was tingling from exhaustion by the time I got home. I smelled awful from sweat and being around all the cigarette smoke and smoke from the smoke machines on the dance floor. My clothes were dripping wet and wrinkled from dancing. My throat hurt from screaming over music to be heard. My feet were killing me from walking and dancing (I think we walked at least 10 miles and up and down 20 flights of steps). And I was thirsty (really, probably dehydrated from sweating so much) and a little hungry.

When I got home I stood in the shower with hot water pouring down me for about 10 minutes before I even bothered with soap. And when I climbed into bed, I don't remember my head hitting the pillow- but I did manage to set my alarm for Sunday School the next day.

My bff's and I had thought we would have a huge, blow-out "girl's night out" in honor of all our 40th birthdays. After last night's adventures, we're really considering a Spa Day with champagne and shopping, then going home for a nap.

When we were 21 we thought we had the world by the tail. We imagined that you got a job, got married, had kids and then just coasted until you died. Forty was insanely old. The women looked old and acted like big prudes. If they tried to act and dress "young", they just looked sad and desperate. Forty-year-olds were supposed to stay at home and do forty-year-old things, like sew and garden and talk about money and stuff.

Last night I still felt like the 21-year-old of yesteryear. But with some different ideas of what 21 looked like, and what 40 looked like. For starters, forty is still very young and vital. Forty-year-olds don't look and act like big prudes; they are just over trying to look like tramps. And for those forty-year-olds who do try to vamp it up, they do, indeed, still look sad and desperate- but maybe even more so.

Now 21 looks like children. Some of the young men didn't even look like they were able to grow complete beards yet. The girls looked like they had gotten into their mother's make up kits and gone completely wild. And that they had shopped at the junior's department for their wardrobes and forgotten to stop by and get undergarments. Most of the girls looked like their shoes could be categorized as lethal weapons, with stiletto heels that came to long sharp points. And I felt so maternal for most of them it really creeped me out a little. I just wanted to go throw a jacket over them and take them home to their mothers.

Our girls that we took out were dressed very nicely. Their outfits were sharp and trendy without looking like they were selling themselves on the corner. Their make up was tasteful and their hair was no-fuss elegant. My bff and I, despite all efforts to the contrary, looked like PTO moms taking our girl scout troop on a field trip.

It was hard saying goodbye to a past-time that I had so much enjoyed- particularly the dancing. But, it just isn't what it was, and it never will be again. And, truthfully, I wouldn't want it to. I don't want to go back to 21. I've been there and I've had my time there.

But I've always had a personal difficulty with grieving the loss of possibility. I don't want to be 21, but it makes me sad that it's no longer an option; I don't want to have any more babies; but there's a part of me that would still like to be able to say that it's a choice. I don't have any desire to live on campus and go to college classes; but I still dream about the time when the whole world of possibility lay in front of me waiting for me to decide.

I hope the girls had fun last night. I think they did. I know they don't know what all they have. Because you can't possibly know that until you don't have it anymore.

I try very hard to appreciate every single moment. I'll never get one back that has already been. But, even now, I realize how precious that time was when the kids were small. And I know I didn't capture every single second and use it to its fullest. But that's the thing: we never can. We can only try, learn from before and hope for tomorrow.

The girls got to have a night for their right of passage. And I know they will have many more fun memories to come. And I am happy and lucky to have been able to be a part of their evening. In the end, I think they may have even taught me more than I taught them...