Five years ago, I was intimately familiar with the 4AM hour. I saw that hour at least once a week as I reveled tipsily through New York City with friends, riding on taxicabs and making late-night tents on fire escapes. Those were wild and joyful days.
These days I rarely see 4AM. I’m chagrined by what a lightweight I am compared to my former self. Four drinks in, I start to yawn. Most nights, I’d rather stay in and watch Bridesmaids with a friend and a martini than go out and dance on a table. I haven’t climbed up an illegal fire escape in many years. Instead I climb rocks, secured by ropes, completely sober, in broad daylight. I guess this is called “growing up,” something I once vowed never to do.
On the up side, as I’ve “grown up” a little I’ve also shaved away much of the layer of anxiety that I wore like a second skin throughout my 20s. I try to replace grudges with gratitude, and I view the amount of love in my life as a measure of success. These new perspectives make me feel old, but they also make me feel like I’ll probably live a lot longer than that scrappy, angsty 20-something Me.
I’d still like to hang out with Me circa 2007 for a night, because that Me was spectacularly fun. But she also ended up crying behind a dumpster on her 30th birthday, so, really, it’s probably best for her to keep her head planted in the sand.
But I’ll take some lessons from that version of Me. Like her, I will try to fill my life with people who wring every molecule of joy and frolic from every day. I will try to live life as lovingly, and ebulliently, as possible. And, if there’s enough fun and mischief in the air, I’ll drink enough caffeine to punch down my yawns so I can see what 4AM brings.