Waking up on a Friday with a pounding headache doesn’t quite resemble the watercolour once audibly painted by cunning lyricist Rebecca Black. Instead, the pulsing is a direct result of pounding enough liquor-spiked drinks to match the current numerical value of my age, as if to completely disregard the strands of grey hair already sprouting on my head.
As it turns out, I have entered a completely different bracket to that of my similarly ageing peers; a mystical and uncharted land, reached only by souls who are apparently completely devoid of the hand and arm coordination required to execute any kind of mating dance. Think of this bracket as ‘The M1 of Life’, only you’re blowing past the turn-offs for the shackles of adulthood – like mortgages, new cars, partners and kids – as if they were the exit to Logan.
Start thinking more praying human than praying mantis – for you see, reaching 30 as a lone-wolf is as disastrous as it is liberating. Your shackles may vary, but in my case the occasional alcohol-inspired headache stems directly from the fact my schedule now revolves around the availability of my peers.
Sure, people are having children later; buying houses later; doing adulting a bit later – but what happens when you reach the ‘later’ and you’re not quite ready yet? Why yes, of course I’m available to meet you in that one hour block you have to yourself on some obscure day of the week.
Naturally, you just kind of gradually gravitate toward a new and exciting group of younger party friends who’ll still let you in after lockout. Meanwhile, most of your peer-group are banging harder than dunny doors in a gale*; each week of life on social media quickly revealing more engagements, babies and painstakingly irritating weekly updates on foetal growth than ever before.
Hangovers are simply another agonising age-related ache you just take to work the next day after each of your attempts to live out some kind of fruitful twilight era during the unexpected extension to your party life. Just don’t forget your walker.
But fear not, because all of this is actually fine.
To be honest, I can think of almost nothing less exciting than the prospect of volunteering at my kids school, or at their sporting events early on the weekends. Nor has my fancy been tickled less than when considering the idea of a crippling mortgage repayment on a place filled to the brim with my own demon spawn; tiny humans that exist merely to pour over the final bucket of water needed to drown me in my own olympic-size swimming pool of debt.
Just joking – my kid(s) will be strong successors to the Iron Throne of Pessimism I leave behind.
Anyway, I suppose reaching a shackle-free exit on the ‘M1 of Life’ at 30 is a little like waking up alive at 95 – eventually you realise that all your friends are dead. Only these funerals take place gradually through an agonising progression of pre-planned events that end obscenely early, and play dates you go home alone from.
There is a certain loneliness in liberation to be sure, but a unique freedom to put on Oasis while I drive on during a blissful, shackle-free Friday morning haze.
*Definitely a stolen joke.