It is said that with age comes wisdom. As I have reflected upon the last 10 years of my life, the wild and crazy girl from my 20s seems like a distant stranger to the woman I have become in my 30s. There were times that going to the bar was much more important than paying my rent. Often, a trip to the liquor store was given precedence over a trip to the grocery store and a new pair of shoes was more useful than a paid electric bill.
So it is that time of year again, 2015 is coming to a close and with that comes a fresh start. The lessons of our past can be echoed into the sentiments of our futures. It is time for a clean slate. The phrase says that if we do not learn from the mistakes of our past, we are destined to repeat them. So what has the last decade changed about me?
At 21, New Year’s Eve involved a new dress — extra sequins — sexy stilettos and the craziest parties in town. At 31, I am looking forward to a blissfully calm New Year’s Eve at home with the ones I love the most. At 21, I looked forward to the champagne toast at midnight, kissing a stranger and dancing until dawn. At 31, I will enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and maybe a sip of champagne and a kiss from the one I love at midnight (hey one that I love, feel free to include a ring in that glass of champagne).
Twenty one brought with it goals and ambitions and a care free, selfish attitude. I travelled, I wore amazing outfits, I lived beyond my means, I ruined my credit. These are things that I am still regretting and am trying to fix at 31. Now I want a mortgage and haven’t had a haircut since last July. Thirty one has taught me the lesson of putting others first. My daughter has the best that I can give her within my means, even if that means I am still wearing sweaters from 5 years ago. I buy grocery store brand makeup instead of designer just so she never has to see a split end on her adorable little head.
I still have my goals and ambitions. I still chase my dreams. At my core I am still that crazy wild girl who tells dirty jokes and laughs at inappropriate things, however; life no longer revolves around just me. Parenthood has made me put my selfishness aside and do what is best for my daughter and the family that I am creating around her.
Thirty one is still fun. I still have nights where I can laugh until it hurts. I still can let loose and be free, but I am just more accountable these days. Hangovers at 31 are worlds different than the ones I had at 21. It just isn’t worth it to have them these days because I can’t sleep until noon to nurse them and then spend the following day lounging around in sweatpants. Life still insists on happening at 31.
What will 2016 bring into my world? Will there still be crazy adventures and unbelievable stories? Probably. Will it bring a greater sense of appreciation and dedication to things, people and issues, bigger than me? It’s my goal to make sure that happens. I resolve in 2016 to make a difference and live a better life and to instill those same goals in my daughter. I think that’s a great resolution whether you’re 21, 31 or 91.
Resolve to be the change.
Melissa Hughes is a 30-year-old single mother of one. Girl Talk started as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa has a weekly TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, discussing activities in Weekender and a Girl Talk radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.