It's taken me longer than most, 27 years in age, though 18 in spirit! And looks, I like to think! But I am no longer afraid of growing up!
From the age of about 17, Thursday to Saturday evenings were spent out in town. Before the 'casual, just got outta bed' look became popular, we used to spend hours in front of the mirror; bathing, grooming and let's not forget Gel-ing ourselves, into mini Tony Manero's (Saturday Night Fever, come on, get with the program!!).
Back in the day (yes, I cringed whilst typing that), cream jeans and Ben Shermans were the attire of choice. And being that Southampton was a high class city rivaling New York and Paris, if you weren't wearing shoes, you weren't coming in! A lesson we still never learnt, even though one of us would always forget!
In those days there was one weekly Thursday night ritual.....the mighty Ikon and Diva. You had Ikon, with its monotonous chart club music and Ibiza foam parties and Diva, which at this point played 70's music and was my venue of choice. DJ's Disco Dick and Randy Feelgood could be seen wearing afros, flares and spinning some quality tunes!
Now in those early days, I frequented these places regularly, alongside Merlin, OG, Buzz, occasionally another best friend Sampras and a few others. In later days, the Bear and the Boss were my regular 'wing-men'. My very first initiation to getting drunk was alongside Merlin at an Ikon foam party, where he looked very stylish in his suit!
Somewhere along the way, these nights out turned into something of a lifestyle. Living for the weekend became the norm and my pay check became pretty much non-existent. Suddenly, it's 10 years later and nothing has changed for myself. But people like Sampras, the Captain and eventually even Merlin, have grown up, settled down, taken work more seriously and one-by-one got married. They haven't stopped being fun, or the people they always have been, but they did alter their priorities and correctly too I have to say. These 3 more than most, became role models for me and have given me advice and inspiration many times over the past decade.
So now I find myself at a crossroads, if I may use such a stereotype. I guess having all this time on my hands has allowed me to think. But it has finally hit home that partying 24/7 isn't all that fun anymore. Somewhere along the line, the rides gotta stop. Now is that time. It's still fun when it isn't your life, but once it becomes your life, it's time to question priorities.
Thanks to Sampras and the others, I've learned that just because something stops and changes, it doesn't mean your life has to.
Now, I'm looking forward to getting my own flat, buying furniture and hell, even choosing curtains! I might not want to party 24/7 anymore, but doesn't that allow me to appreciate the fun times more, enjoy the finer things in life and realise what my priorities should be?
There's no crime in growing up, but there is a shame in not embracing life completely.