What happened to you? You’re nothing like that now!
What happened to me? I grew up!
During a recent dinner with my boyfriend of four years, I was sharing a story from my life in my early twenties.
Back then, my friends and I hung out at every hot bar and club in Manhattan during the year, and in the Hamptons during the summer (we did all of this on a shoestring budget.) We knew the bouncers and bartenders, and we were even known to sometimes dance on the bar.
We had New York City friends, friends in the Hamptons and Fire Island friends. We would all convene at whichever place was the trendiest on a particular night. We drank, flirted with lots of boys, and acted silly. We would sleep late on the weekends. We were young and having so much fun.
Believe it or not, I met my husband at one of these bars.
Once I started dating my husband, I immediately settled down. It was not difficult to do, nor did I have a hard time letting that part of my life go. It felt like a natural progression.
There were no more parties, no more clubs, no more making out with cute boys, no more getting home at 4 AM.
My soon-to-be husband and I would go for dinner at a respectable time and be home as my roommate, who was still single, was just getting ready to go out and party for the night. Sleeping all day was traded in for walks to the farmer’s market and Central Park.
We got married, moved to the suburbs, and had two beautiful daughters. All of our friends were married (including my once very single roommate). We lived a very stable life and that girl dancing on the bar was long forgotten.
Unfortunately, my life was not tied up in a neat little bow. My husband passed away in 2011 and I found myself to be a 45 year-old widow.
The 45 year-old me was quite different than the 25 year-old me. I was technically single again but I was now older, more mature, more responsible, a mom, and a little jaded.
What was I supposed to do? I certainly did not want to go back to the before-marriage me. This mom was not going to be out at all hours of the night dancing on bars. That was no longer who I was. I was now a solo mom of two girls who needed me. That was all that mattered.
I kept myself busy with my daughters and my friends. I went on some blind dates but nothing turned serious.
Then something happened that was quite ironic. I met my present boyfriend in a bar. This time, it was not in a New York City bar at 2 am like when I met my husband.
One evening, I was convinced to have dinner at the bar of a local restaurant with a married couple who are good friends. I went only to get out of my house, spend time with my friends, and to eat.
I never imagined that a nice man would walk in, sit down next to me and actually pick me up! I thought my pick up days were over, but that was exactly what happened.
My boyfriend only knows the mature, more reserved me. I have been feeling nostalgic recently, sharing stories about the party girl that I was. He was quite surprised, to say the least.
We all grow and change. I would never want to again be that girl I used to be, but I don’t regret one minute of that part of my life. That twenty-something me was fun, carefree, and had the time of her life. I am thankful for that experience. She also taught me many lessons, which have helped shape me into the woman and mom I am today. I look back at that time with fondness and, every once in a while, wish I could be twenty-something again.
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband tragically passed away. After a few very difficult years, she started The Widow Wears Pink, a blog about her widow life.
Stacy has been published in Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Her View From Home, Better After 50, Modern Loss, Grown & Flown,, Option B, Kveller, Mamalode, Sammiches & Psychmeds, and Thought Catalog. She is a contributor on Hope for Widows Foundation and freelances for Today.com. She is currently working on both her memoir and a fiction novel.