Growing up is something that I’ve always been told is a choice. Growing old you can’t avoid but growing up… that’s all on you.
The implication is that it’s best to stay young. Full of excitement and adventure! And growing up is what boring, stuffy, settled people do. I resisted “growing up” for years because I thought that was what made me cool and interesting. But in the last year or so, I stopped resisting and naturally I “grewup”.
I genuinely wasn’t expecting it to happen. Like I said, I thought it was a choice. But one day I thought, ‘I haven’t been clubbing in a while’. I hadn’t even made conscious decisions to not go clubbing. It just wasn’t even on my agenda anymore. I noticed that as a self-proclaimed extrovert who needs to be around people constantly and thrives in group situations, I’d changed. First of all, groups exhaust me now. I don’t think I’ve ever Irish-goodbyed out of events as much as I have the last year. It’s like a switch has been flicked from really care about conversations with strangers and making new friends to literally can’t be fucked, get me to my bed.
Am I boring now?
By society’s standards “interesting” is having new experiences and meeting different people. “Boring” is not doing any of that and staying home by yourself. But that’s not boring!
Yes I’ve grown up. Staying in, cooking dinner and watching Bake Off sounds far more appealing than a work event where I’ll have to mingle and actually talk to people. But I don’t think that makes me boring. The “interesting” types were the popular kids in school but just because you know more people and are the loudest doesn’t mean the quieter ones are any less interesting.
I used to be one of those people who needed a BIG life to be happy. People had to be jealous of my life. I used to judge people who were satisfied by a small life, I couldn’t understand how they were so content with a simple, “boring” life. But thinking about it now, I get it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still an extrovert and crave new experiences that’ll make great dinner party anecdotes. But I realise that they only satisfy me in the short term. I’d have to keep seeking and seeking, trying to find the next thing to get my happy-fix from.
But turns out that the things that make me feel content in the long-term are “boring”. Growing up and having a small but incredible group of friends. Being happy in your own company. Going for walks. Hosting dinner parties. Playing board games. Going home early so you can get 8 hours sleep.
This obviously doesn’t happen all at once, it’s gradual. But I remember the other day thinking how much I’ve changed since I moved to London. If I compare an average week I have now to an average week I had in the first year I moved, the difference is wild! But I didn’t even notice the change happening. Three years ago my average week was a blend of coffee meetings, day-dates, evening events, drinking 12 nights in a row until I realised I’d been drinking 12 nights in a row. Just thinking about the idea of doing that now exhausts me!
The point is, for a while I feared I was boring. But I realised that when you know yourself and you’re confident in who you are then you know best. And I don’t feel boring so I won’t let anyone tell me that I am. A lot of the “interesting” things we value in people are superficial anyway. I’m happy and despite all the time I spend doing “boring” things, I am never bored.
Would love to hear your thoughts on growing up in the comments. Do you feel like you’ve changed much? Have your priorities in life shifted a bit like mine? What do you think is an “interesting”/”boring” life?