End of an era....

So, Mullens and I have been discussing this a lot lately, and I haven't launched into a big LJ rant about life for a while, so here goes.

My life has been divided into a series of eras. And with the exception of 1 era, I've loved every bit of them and, despite my terrible memory, have great memories from each that I'll have for the rest of my life.

Era 1, age 0-15: Fabish was my best friend and lived a few houses down from me. We both hated our sisters, pestered them, and tried our damndest to never, ever, ever be home. We'd play in the creek, play in the woods, climb trees, and in the winter, build snow forts and dare each other to walk out on a frozen lake. Good times. The end of this era was when, of course, I got my driver's license.

Era 2, age 16-18: The freedom of my new '83 Buick Skylark was just too much for me to handle. Fabish and I were still good friends, but the car allowed me to kind of branch out and hang out with all sorts of people I didn't normally hang out with. I started spending more time with Mullens, hanging out with different groups of people every night. Again, the goal of this era was to stay out of my own house and never just spend a night at home with my parents.

Era 3, age 19-20: Otherwise known as the drinkin' years. I was living in Chicago and hating it most of the time. About one weekend a month I'd hop into my '86 Buick Century and head home to live it up. Everyone was in college, and everyone was all about parties, drinking, staying up until 4 am, sleeping 3 hours, then going out to breakfast somewhere. Great times, man. The parties at Brice's place rivaled any other party I've ever been to in terms of good, fucking awesome fun with lots of stories to tell the next day.

I look back at these times and it's so weird to me now. I know it was only 4 years ago, but it seems like forever ago. I can't even imagine going to a dorm room crowded with 15 people and 30 bottles of liquer anymore, but back then, I couldn't imagine anything better.

It was also during these years that it took me 10 or 12 beers before I started to feel even a little drunk, due to the constant drinkin' that raised my tolerance to unhealthy levels.

Era 4, age 21-24: More drinkin' and boozin'. Everyone I used to go to parties with turned 21, so we stopped going to the parties and started going to the bars. While living on Underhill, I'd get completely wrecked out of my brain and stumble home on foot, and do the same thing the next night. Bartenders started recognizing me and knowing what I drank.

Somewhere along the line, and I'm not sure where it happened, getting drunk stopped being fun to me. Nowadays, I much prefer going out with a small group of friends, milking a drink for as long as possible, and just bullshitting and catching up.

Era 5, age 24-???: Jaimee is moving in with me on Tuesday. And since Mullens and I have been together for all of our different eras, we've been discussing the change that we're seeing, and the change that is inevitable.

Angie started dating Dave pretty seriously and virtually disappeared. Mullens is spending more time with Anna than he has before, and we're all seeing marriage as not just some distant thing in the future, but actually fairly soon in the grand scheme of everything. We're realizing that, while our friends are still fantastic and we love 'em and would do anything for 'em, they can't always be first.

Other changes... I don't hate spending time with my family anymore. I used to. I don't know why. Now I love seeing Sarah and Robert and Jack and Mom and Dad. I love talking to them like they're actually people and not just relatives... a relationship I've never really had with people I'm related to.

And sure, I still like beer, and I still like bars, and I still like large gatherings of people. But I don't like them every day anymore. I told Mullens that it's only a matter of time before our trips to the bar are going to be all about catching up because we haven't seen each other in more than a week. We've seen it happen to Fabish, and in the course of a year, I've gone from thinking he's a chump to being jealous of what he has.

Maybe these will be the settling down years, or the stabalizing years. I don't know, but I do know that one era is definitely coming to and end. And I'm not sad or wishing it would stay, I'm looking forward to what's next. Sure, I miss playing in the creek with Fabish and not having a worry in the world. And I wouldn't mind going back for an hour or 2, but for the most part, I'm done. And when I'm eating breakfast at IHOP and see a table full of 20 year olds who obviously spent the night drinking, yelling, and singing, I'll be a bit jealous and look back with fondness on the years I spent doing the same thing, but I don't think I'll have any desire to do it again.

Does this make me and my life boring? I hope not. I'm still all about Hoops and Wednesdays for half off everything and Friday night with my boyz at Donnelly's or Kouri's or wherever we choose to go. I'm just picturing that scene in Old School where Will Ferrel is telling the frat boys that he can't drink because he's got a big day of home improvements to prepare for. I guess my idea of a good time is shifting again, or possibly, has already shifted.

My priorities are changing, which is scary and good at the same time. I wouldn't have it any other way. I think my life is headed for great things.