Almost a week has gone by since New Year’s and I’m still having flashbacks. My shins are still bruised and I’m yet to face my bank balance. It’s hardly surprising so many people give up the booze for January after all that overindulgence. To what extent is having a big night out overindulgent though? And should those of us who enjoy a few learn to control our cravings? God, that sounds like I’m borderline alcohol dependent. I’m not. I just enjoy a good dance.
Not too long ago, and in a bid to turn my hangover into something more productive, I blogged about being a party animal. I asked the question, ‘Is it ok?’ You know, is it ok to enjoy getting smashed? My conclusive answer was that yes, it is, but only when balanced correctly, and situated accordingly, amongst the other (more important) aspects of your life.
I cannot express how much our lives constitute one gigantic balancing act. The key isn’t just to balance out everything equally either, its about measuring everything out by it’s level of importance, and then weighing up what you want to do, what you need to do, and what you should be doing. Our lives make up a pretty complicated equation, it’s no wonder we get it wrong sometimes. Willpower plays a pretty big part, as does the formation of your own personal set of values. What one person calls a necessity, another will deem as excessive. That’s just how it is.
I’ve never really considered a night out as a luxury thing. Rather, it’s something that I’m entitled to do as a young adult. I suppose everyone’s definition of ‘a night out’ will differ quite a lot. I’ll define a typical night out as having a few drinks with your friends, with the intention of getting drunk, usually starting at someone’s house, and ending up in a grimy underground club or pretentious, overpriced bar. You all pile into a taxi at 10pm, arrive in town feeling ready to take on the world, stumbling into the same bar you were in the week before. The first thing you do when you walk in is order a round of jager bombs that you most definitely don’t need, and, depending on the venue, you eventually work your way over to the dance floor. Shots and drinks are met with intermissions of dancing, cigarette breaks, numerous trips to the toilet, and attempts to talk to the DJ.
What I want to know is…why do we do it?
It’s just something you do at the weekend to let off a bit of steam, right? But aren’t there fifty thousand other things you could do to let off steam rather than get completely off your face, and actually pay money to make a fool of yourself? If you ask me, it’s about escapism, plain and simple. Well, actually it’s not that simple. It’s weird. It’s weird that even though I love my friends and get on with them all incredibly well, in order to have a night out together, we all have to get, well, smashed. We all get to the point where we’re no longer ourselves, just our drunk selves. I find this problematic. The main reason I find it problematic is because even though I know all of this, I still look forward to doing it every single Saturday night.
I often fall into a dangerous trap. If I have a good night out, I want to do it all over again to relive it, and if I have a bad night out, I want to do it all over again to resolve it. What is that all about? The relationship between your body, your brain, and the way you perceive the world around you, that’s what. I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist, and it sounds sad, but I think I actually hope for the ‘perfect’ night out every single time. You know, the kind you would see in a film. So when I lose my phone and cry all the way home in the taxi, I don’t want to ‘never go out again’ like most people, I want to do it better next time. Weird. And not at all practical.
Without getting into too much of a psychological rant, it has a lot to do with the way you communicate with people. Even the most reclusive introvert can enjoy a few shots and a boogie, potentially even more so – once they get going. You see, those who are naturally extroverted, and a tad eccentric, don’t need to get a bit boozy to show off and entertain a room full of people; they do it comfortably anyway. Those who are generally shy or prefer their own company might avoid the clubs all together, but those who are a bit of both might need a little boost to enjoy themselves and feel comfortable. So if you’re an introverted extrovert, or an extroverted introvert, a couple of glasses of wine will put your schizophrenic interior at ease and you’ll most likely go one way or the other.
Or you might just love music. And dancing.
And not taking yourself too seriously.
Whatever it is that drives us to the pubs and clubs every weekend, I’m not going to deny myself of that just because it’s January. As obvious as it sounds, as long as you’re happy, healthy and having fun, how bad can it really be?