“Eating is cheating”.
Back in my youth, this was the mantra for a good time.
During these heedless and misguided years, a good time was all about the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol. On an empty stomach, the booze would just addle your brain just that little bit faster. It didn’t matter if you ended up losing your dress or completely forgetting the details of the night. In fact, these anecdotes would be worn as a badge of honour, to be relived through multiple retellings in the years to come. The stories would usually start with, “I was off my face so much that I ended up in just my undies at the bar, and I never found my dress!” *
Honour was also bestowed upon you if you couldn’t remember what happened after 2am, if you pashed a cute guy (even if you can’t recall his name), or throwing up in your friend’s shower the next morning after you were trying to beat the dreaded hangover.
Fast forward fifteen years and I look back on these times with some embarrassment, a bit of shame, and a great deal of wonderment. Let’s face it, these days, a few too many glasses of wine mean a two-day hangover and a wasted weekend.
What makes a good weekend now is not so much the volume of alcohol consumption, but spending quality time with friends and family. I would much prefer to have a long lunch with a few friends, share some nice bottles of red wine, and generate some interesting conversation and discussions on relationships, careers, travels, and politics. A good time is spending time with my partner and our two dogs on the beach or bushwalking. A great time is spending time alone with cups of Earl Grey tea and the weekend newspapers.
The twenty-year-old version of me would probably look at the current version of me with the same embarrassment and shame that I feel now when I look back. What constitutes a good time can change so drastically over the years that you may wonder how you were ever so young and foolish.
If I was to fast forward another fifteen years, what would a good time look like? Would it be a glass of red on the couch after the kids have gone to bed, when I can finally get some peace? Would it be a weekly date night with my partner? Or just the pleasure of sleeping in on the weekends without being awoken by the dogs playfully licking our faces?
The new mantra for a good time as you get older and wiser is to find joy in the every day. Even the littlest joys can deliver a good time.
Besides, I should have known that forgoing food was never going to be a sustainable or enjoyable. Eating is definitely not cheating!
* Don’t worry mum, this didn’t actually happen to me!
* Image courtesy of the Daily Mail