I was out with friends for dinner and when we decided it was too early to call it quits, we went to a dance club adjacent to the restaurant for a drink. While we walked over, we laughed as we recalled our previous experiences in clubs. When walked in, we were stunned to find that we felt completely and utterly out of place.
How had we gotten so old? Why did these 20-somethings look so YOUNG? What was this music? How are these young people dressed? Wow, we quickly realized did we realize that there was a time and place for this and it was about 20-some years ago!
As you mature, other things in life take precedence over nursing hangovers and not remembering the end of the night. Spending your entire paycheck on drinks no longer seems fiscally responsible. Yet, it is sometimes so difficult to move away from the party club scene that has been part of your life for so long. How do you meet people? What should you do on a Friday night? How can you persuade your friends to do something else?
Believe it or not, there IS life out there beyond the club scene and there are so many other ways to meet people, whether it’s at your church, at the gym or at fundraisers and dinners.
When I look back at the fun times I had in my youth, I remember booze-induced laughs and outrageousness but I also remember feeling slightly empty, like something was missing. After a while, I realized that my bar-hopping and club-cruising days were over and it was time to get back into things that “the rest of the world” were involved with.
Are you at this point and ready for a change? Here are some ways to skip the club scene in favor or something a little more productive.
Get back into sports
Why not spend the afternoon with some of your friends and relatives at a sporting event? Tailgating can add a bit of spice to the pre-game hours — WITHOUT letting libations get out of control. Spending time with people you enjoy invigorated in the outdoors is surely a wonderful day out. If you’re unable to afford an afternoon at an NFL football game, go to a college game as they can be even more exciting. Head over to your local baseball farm team. How about hockey?
Instead of spending your evening dancing and meeting people that you would probably never talk to let alone rub up against, try heading out to dinner with some close friends. You might even set a date with someone you’ve been interested in. Dinner and drinks is a much more “grown-up” way to enjoy an evening. Great conversation, fantastic food, alluring atmosphere. If you take the time to research a place, you might find exactly what you are looking for. How about a hole in the wall Italian joint with fantastic food, a trendy place to “be seen” or an elegant restaurant with impeccable service?
Take time for yourself
If you’ve been working really hard and need a low key break, try staying home for an evening. Got a flair for culinary arts? Make yourself or even a few friends a recipe that you’ve been waiting to try and enjoy with some wine and conversation (or even skip the wine and just go for conversation!) If you love to read or watch movies, make some time for these things. A great book or a fun movie can be quite revitalizing, and an easy conversation segue for when you’re out and socializing.
Do what you like
If your main reason for going out is to meet people or “someone” then give other social places a try. Join a book club, or a gym, or a cigar club or a boat club. It is amazing how many clubs are out there for specific interests. There is something about sharing interests with people that almost automatically draws you together. I’ve met many who I now consider friends though such venues.
If you find that you’ve been neglecting your hobbies, make sure you recommit. Love the outdoors? Looking to push your body to the limit? Then make an effort to get physical. The adrenaline alone in something like rock climbing or hang gliding would be enough to forget about the clubbing scene. Meet up with your pals to play soccer on a Saturday afternoon. Find intramural sports in your area. There are so many ways to exercise your body and not your wallet.
When it becomes more important to preserve your brain cells than kill them, more important to enjoy your weekend than to waste it, more important to live life than to stumble through, it may be time to reevaluate your age and what most people your age are doing!