In case you all have forgotten, let me remind you again that in the past two years I’ve become a wife AND a mother (I’m still getting used to it myself, so I apologize if this is like the umpteenth article I’ve started that way). Every once in a while, when I’m able to steal a little “me-time”, I come up for air from the sea of Mega Blocks, Gerber Puffs and adult responsibilities I’m often surrounded by to see how out-of-touch I’ve really become. Priorities done changed, ya’ll. I used to look forward to what summer music festivals my friends would need to camp out on Ticketmaster.com for and lately all I’m looking forward to are a hot shower and the two hours of Nurse Jackie I can squeeze in when my toddler passes out. On the days I feel most pathetic, I’ll reassure myself I’m still doing the damn thing and randomly blurt out “I’m still young and fly” before my husband abruptly reminds me, “I know, babe, I know.”
The funny thing is, once you hit a certain age and have a few accomplishments under your belt, you begin to realize that being “young and fly” isn’t everything and you trade it in for a little “grown and sexy”. Your tastes change and you gain some experience that makes you feel confident enough to give advice to others. Don’t get me wrong, my twenties were all the way turned up. I remember dragging my BFF on a ten-hour bus ride to Toronto attend my first OVOFest and getting caught up in customs over pepper spray (Apparently the Canadians take aerosol defense sprays very seriously). There were also the “Thirsty Thursdays” of undergrad where we felt like the baddest bitches to ever hit Middle of Nowhere, USA. But in all honesty, even though there’s a part of me that misses being twenty-something with an adventure scheduled for every weekend, and even bigger part of me wants to leave my twenties exactly where they’re at, both physically and mentally. There’s a comfort that comes with routine and having your own. Thirty doesn’t have to mean the end of random bus trips through North America, but at least now maybe I can afford an actual flight without having to eat Chef Boyardee for two weeks to afford it.
Still not convinced you’re ready to say goodbye to your days of “young and fly”, here are a few reminders it might be time to come in for a landing:
1. Getting dressed becomes a chore.
It’s one thing if bae is treating me to that new Mediterranean place for monthly date night and I muster the effort to throw on a pair of 5” heels, but my days of putting on winged liner for game night with friends are long gone. For one thing, when you have a baby it takes an insane amount of time for your family to get out the door to do any damn thing. A trip to the bank requires a fully stocked baby bag and unrealistic goal of hoping you can make it to the car before your kid covers their outfit in snot or poop or both. More and more I find myself reserving the energy to look fresh to death for when it counts.
2. Everything that comes on the radio sounds the same (and a tad bit annoying).
This is like the number one sign that you are now your parents. Maybe hip-hop and R&B truly has fallen off significantly, but the truth is we’re probably just old. But that’s OK, because every time I see a 45- year-old man dressed in skinny jeans blasting Fetty Wap from his car, a part of me dies inside. I think as you grow older your taste in music should too; it’s OK if you’re like my husband and don’t know WTH a “DM” is and what goes down in them. There’s nothing wrong with a little trap music to go with some shots of Bacardi every now and then, but most days I can’t tell Jhene from Kehlani. However if New Jack Swing ever makes a comeback, I’ll be waiting with open arms.
3. You have a liquor preference.
Congratulations if you pass judgment on anyone drinking alcohol out of something that resembles a Capri Sun pouch. You are officially an adult with decent taste. In my twenties I would drink anything that was over 60 proof regardless of what Kool-Aide color it came in. Now my liver has a little more discretion and I’m able to have good time without feeling like I went headfirst into the side of Buick the next day.
4. You kind of start to give a damn about your health.
There’s a “snatch back” that plagues your twenties that makes you think you can survive ANYTHING. You can pass out from alcohol poisoning one night and wake up the next morning ace a final, pull a double at work and then have sex until the sun comes up. But when I hit 30 all I can remember thinking is, “Damn, I know people who have gotten cancer diagnoses at this age.” Seriously, I had a sharp pain on my left side for a few days that I swore was the end a few months ago. It was actually just gas, but the good news is getting older makes you realize your mortality. And realizing you won’t be here forever makes you take your health a little more seriously and make better choices.
5. You start to care about quality and use discretion when spending your money.
I lie to you not, one of the best purchases I’ve ever made as an official adult is a quality mattress. Once you sleep on decent furniture, you’ll wonder why futons are even still available for purchase. When you begin to build a work history and recognize the amount of work you have to do to earn so many dollars per hour, you’ll want the things you spend it on to be worth something. You’ll start to pay for quality and convenience, and stop spending your coins casually on things you know won’t survive past a month. Sure, that IKEA nightstand looks cute, but if it falls apart as soon as you put your contact case on it, is it really worth the hassle?
6. You realize how little time you have for the BS.
When I had nothing but air and opportunity, if my home girl called me up and wanted to ride the Petty Pony when it came to man drama, I was there. But now I have responsibilities and I’m almost tempted to make my friends sign a disclaimer that begins, “If I ride out with you to destroy this man, do you solemnly swear you will not go all #RelationshipGoals with this dude in the next year taking his mama to church and making him omelets in the morning?” As I get older, my time becomes more and more valuable and I refuse to entertain BS. Every moment of my life doesn’t need to be dedicated to serious spiritual growth and introspection, but I just don’t have as much time for the shenanigans anymore.
7. Comfort and convenience become major factors in most of your decisions.
This doesn’t translate into meaning it’s OK to become lazy as you grow older. Your thirties and beyond should still be filled with plenty of challenges and moments of discomfort to keep you sharp so you can continue to grow. But sometime a few years ago, I started to feel like I no longer had anything to prove, and there was no point in inconveniencing myself just to prove that I was making the most of my life every minute of the day.
I once saw a comedian that gave the best advice when he said, “By the age of 30, I know what I don’t like.” There’s something about being at peace with the things you know you have no interest in. In other words, just because all of your friends are making vision boards with trips to Dubai, if you truly know you couldn’t care less about seeing the Burj Khalifa or rather have a cheese steak instead of shawarma, there’s no need to defend what makes you happy. You don’t have to push yourself to limit to things that simply aren’t that important to you just to prove your life is epic and amazing.
8. You stop caring about being “young and fly”.
As much as I still enjoy my share of Nicki Minaj and Love and Hip Hop, I’m noticing the lifestyle I aspire to have affects my priorities. I don’t care as much about designer labels and turning up as much as I care about getting my daughter into a good school and making sure I don’t have to work a 9-5 to survive when I’m sixty. If spending a little more time learning about how a 401K works or taking the time to learn who exactly is my city council person means sacrificing knowing the juicy details of Meek Mill’s latest Twitter rant, I will make my peace with that. My role models have changed as well as my values and I take that as a good sign that I’m growing as a person.