On Choosing Denver & Becoming An Old Lady

If you follow my blog, perhaps you recall a previous post I wrote that was essentially pleading for someone to decide on where I should visit for my 25th birthday.

The unofficial winner of this contest was Austin, TX. However, this was never really a choice, and I ignored it (thanks for playing though). The second place winner was New Orleans, and I heeded your advice and started planning my trip. David and I went as far as to book our Airbnb, as we readied ourselves for a weekend of day-drinking Hurricanes, Hand Grenades, and whatever other booze seemed fit.

As the days continued to inch forward though, I felt an uneasiness creep over me. I found myself reflecting inward, contemplating how accomplished this year has already been in terms of reaching my goals and also finding out more about what makes me happy.

The more I pondered our trip to NOLA, the more I began to dread the idea of a hangover ravaged and largely sedentary weekend. Was this really how I wanted to spend my 25th birthday? The anxiety seizing my chest told me otherwise.

Luckily, I am an adult and can change plans on a whim if I so choose!

Ultimately, there were two main reasons I swapped my decision from New Orleans to Denver:

1. In recent months, I have become exceedingly (almost stalker-like) obsessed with thru-hikers. I’ve been pouring through bloggers posts like Boundless Roamad, Flo Walks, Homemade Wanderlust, Halfway AnywhereEllen on the PCT, and Lost Outdoors, pining over all of their photos.

I needed something to quench my mountain thirst before I lost all self-control, dropped 5 grand and quit my job to go and hike the PCT myself (maybe one day, I should probably learn how to pitch a tent first).

2. And my second reason is a bit more complex and revolves around my relationship with alcohol.

Obviously I quite enjoy alcohol, as made evident by the abundant selfies I have included in this post. And let’s be honest: I chose New Orleans originally for the drinks. I had plans to hit up the tourist sites I missed when I visited in the past, but the real draw of NOLA was to celebrate my birthday with warm weather and booze.

However, as mentioned above, I was in full “life contemplation” swing. I began to wonder why I felt the need to celebrate a milestone by getting drunk. Ultimately, I ended up with three conclusions as to why this was maybe not what I wanted:

  • Alcohol’s marketing makes me uncomfortable.

    I firmly believe that the United States has a problem when it comes to the glorification of drinking alcohol. I could yammer on for eons about this, but I will try and keep it concise:

    The marketing and ingrained culture for women to get sloshed on Lime-a-ritas is obviously clever, but isn’t a long term solution to our problems. Now, I don’t think that women shouldn’t drink, and I don’t think that someone shouldn’t be able to enjoy the taste of a Lime-a-rita (*shudders*). I do, however, believe it is odd that when women are stressed that we are encouraged to drink to satiate our problems. When we break up with someone, we are expected to eat a carton of ice cream and wash it down with cheap wine. When the weekend rolls around, we are encouraged to complain about our jobs with the aid of a restaurant cocktail. And when it is a special occasion, we are expected to wear a sash and take each shot handed to us.

    We are expected to spend oodles of our income on making ourselves numb to our every day problems, rinse, repeat.

    Now, of course, marketing is what you make of it. I am not saying that society is forcing heartbroken women to chug prosecco, but the pressure of friends, coworkers, and advertisement certainly doesn’t help the issue. With this thought in the back of my mind, it encouraged me to wonder whether the prospect of drinking on my birthday was something I truly wanted or was expected to want.

    (Photographed below: David and I were featured in the Chicago Tribune for drinking beer and eating pizza at a bar!)

  • Alcohol makes me feel bad.

    Gone are the days of being a spry 21 year old who could guzzle two bottles of wine and not want to die the next morning. As I continue to age, I have found that alcohol leaves me feeling extra fuzzy – and not in a good way. Nowadays, 3 beers will wake me up in the middle of the night in search of a liter of water, and anything more will leave me incapacitated for part of or the entire next day.

    It used to be fun to wake up this way. There’d be goofy stories to tell and heartfelt moments shared with friends. But recently, during one particularly thirsty night, I was pouring myself a glass of water at 2 a.m. and began wondering why I continued to do this to myself. My body was telling me something – I didn’t even get tipsy, but it still wanted me to stop literally poisoning myself.

  • Alcohol makes me anxious.

    In addition to my body feeling like the inside of a trash can, my mind also begins to race at the thought of all of the embarrassing situations I might have gotten myself into when I drink. Just a smidge of beer amplifies my chattiness and can cause me to panic later. Did I say something stupid? My “worst-case-scenario” thought process tricks me each time into believing so. I have had numerous text message conversations with friends, beginning with me apologizing for anything I might have said, followed by them having to ensure me that I was, in fact, not an idiot.

    This factor for me was one of the most important in my decision to swap from New Orleans to Denver.

In conclusion:

Upon this inner reflection, I began to ask myself some questions:

Do I want to ring in my 25th year by not remembering it? For falling victim to monopolistic companies, expensive marketing, and ingrained boozy culture? To ingesting my weeks allotted sugar in the form of an essential vodka slushie?

This sounds a bit self righteous. I have nothing against those who choose to booze on their birthdays, and I am happy to celebrate when the occasion strikes. This is not a blog stating my going sober and you can be certain that I will continue to drink margaritas when I am in the mood. In fact, I am still planning on drinking a beer on my birthday in Denver and probably partaking in some mimosas the following morning.

My primary point is that I do not want to use my birthday or New Orleans as an excuse to get drunk. I would rather remember than forget, and climb mountains than sleep off a hangover.

For this particular milestone in my life, I want to pour into myself instead of into a cup.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Leave them in the comments section!

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