The stars have aligned, the fourth pyramid unearthed, and a lost city of Maya discovered. All monumental occasions in human history with their far reaching implications, and while astronomers, archeologists, and anthropologists celebrate, I would gladly forego any one of them for the much greater celebration of a single night out.
Just one single night out.
No wife, no kid, and most importantly, the freedom to make bad decisions.
So there is it: Having a child is a life of compromise, and you’re going to miss a lot of fun shit. Last year was my first New Year’s Eve at home. While my friends indulged in every sin imaginable, waking up in a blissful haze of hungover amnesia, I stayed in to watch my child. I say “watch” in the loosest possible sense, because by 8pm my kid was already asleep, leaving me to sit alone on my sofa watching the Chinese Spring Festival Gala. Party.
So New Year’s passed pretty much like any other evening — uneventfully. It was one of many awesome parties, diners, birthdays, movies, picnics, and camping trips I had to (and will continue to) miss, only to sit on my sofa while my kid sleeps. But that’s the choice we make when we decide to have a baby. Fair enough.
Every now and then, through some cosmic miracle, by some mandate of the heavens, your parents will take your two-year-old for a night. One full night — twenty-four hours or so — to rediscover the unbridled joy of the bad decision-making process. It’s greater than New Year’s, Burning Man, Carnival, and Coachella combined. It’s what most non-parents don’t understand. It’s that get-out-of-jail-free party.
There is no greater liberation. None.
You’re going to that after-party. Not necessarily because you want another Mojito, or even because you enjoy the company. You’re going for one reason, and one reason alone. Because you can! You’re like a pent-up American university student on his 21st birthday. It’s time to binge. The ramification of pushing your pudgy, thirty-plus Dad body around isn’t even a consideration. Partying as a dad on a night out is like your first day out of prison. It’s time to experience the world again.
And it just all seems so new. Your favorite bars have changed. The menus are different. You finally get to try that one spot everyone’s been talking about. You’re a Tiger leaving the enclosure, released into a virgin rainforest ripe with fruit and gazelle. You enjoy that jungle with the ferocity of tiger who knows full-well that tomorrow he’s back to the zoo.
Wednesday morning, yeah, you’ll wake up in pain. Hungover, serotonin low, with a sense of shame planted deep in your stomach. You feel your age, plus another ten years on top of that. Responsibility kicking you in the face, your wallet’s way lighter. Your wife’s annoyed and unsympathetic. And you're late for work.
But despite feeling like absolute Ass, there’s a certain beauty to that day, like you’ve just come off a cathartic peyote trip, and it’s time to puke up all that pent-up aggression and tension. The hangover’s almost euphoric, and your coffee’s never tasted better. And although you can’t digest anything, you spent way too much money buying everyone drinks, and you’re probably going to be hurting for a few days to come, it was totally, totally worth it.
It was so, so worth it.