As I lay awake after the first big night out I’ve had which wasn’t at a wedding for the past approx. five years – feet burning, ears ringing, room doing an unhelpful spin – I wondered how on earth I used to do this every night. Because there was a time when that happened. I won’t be too specific but let’s just say MSN messenger was a BIG DEAL back then.
Yesterday’s frivolities brought my 30th birthday celebrations to a close in the best way possible – with drinking and dancing and hanging out with the kind of friends that you want to stand on a stool in front of and declare “I LOVE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU” until you realise that’s a bad idea as your ability to remain balanced even when you haven’t drunk anything is limited. Best to just text them all afterwards instead.
But aside from other people’s nuptials and birthday parties, big nights of boozing and shape-throwing just don’t happen so much any more. And for that reason, when they do come around, I have to spend a few days getting myself physically and mentally prepared for it. For example, this week I:
– didn’t go out on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening in the interests of storing up as much energy as possible for last night (much like a hamster loading up its cheeks with nuts or bits of carrot, except I just stocked up on sofa time, Orange is the New Black and sweets).
– considered my pre-party diet very carefully. I had to make sure I ate enough so that I wouldn’t get drunk at the first whiff of alcohol, but not so much that I’d need to lie down in the corner of the bar mid-party and have a nap – OR look so bloated that everyone would think they were at a baby shower instead of a 30th. A very tough balance to strike.
– added an extra half an hour to my getting ready time so that I could put on liquid eyeliner. Sure, it looks nice but my main reason for choosing it is because once it’s on, it doesn’t move, whereas after a couple of hours in eye shadow, it’s not so much that I look like I’ve been punched, more like someone has slapped me in the face incredibly slowly, dragging every grain of colour across my eyes.
– decided to wear jeans with a very comfortable waistband. I was going to wear a dress that is very tight around the middle but I shunned it in the interests of being able to breathe – something that matters to be more and more as I get older.
– selected a pair of heels with a very strong strap to avoid stepping out of them and breaking my ankle mid over-enthusiastic dance move (FYI all of my moves fall into this category – if you’re going to go out, you might as well get an entire year’s worth of exercise done in one evening, in my opinion). Of course such a shoe doesn’t necessarily save you from a tumble but my rule is: if I’m going down, my shoes are coming with me.
I didn’t used to need all this preparation – I remember being at university and not even deciding whether to go out until 11pm whereas if you suggested that to me now I’d… well, I wouldn’t hear you because I’d be asleep.
But the good thing is that the less frequently that something lovely happens, the more you appreciate it when it does. Celebrating with friends, drinking cocktails filled with raspberries and lemon (oh and gin, loads of gin), and struggling to go to sleep because your feet are throbbing so hard from all the jiving that they’re just not used to, doesn’t happen every day (and for that my toes will always be grateful) so we have to make the most of it when it does.
I’m already looking forward to next time, whenever that should come around, just as long as I have plenty of warning. In the mean time, I’ll be sat safely on my sofa, nursing my poor feet back to their former glory and preparing them for their next expedition outside.
If my current state of exhaustion is anything to go by, I fear I may be 40 before I’m ready for that to happen.