The Chardonnay Slumber Party For Reluctant Grown-ups

It’s the girl’s night in that trumps all girl’s nights in.

The night in you have when you’re 30, home for the summer, and you’re reconnecting with people you haven’t thought about in ages.

Like a slumber party, with girls from school you don’t know that well but your parents are friends so you’re stuck.

At least there’s Chardonnay now so it’s fine.

Once upon a time, we shared a school playground but back then we had nothing to say to each other. Somehow we reconnected on Facebook and since we’re all in Lebanon this week, we just HAD TO meet up.

This is the first time we meet as 30-something. It happened a bit randomly, us reconnecting, and I went there like it was a chore, but really I had nothing better to do. The older I get, the fewer friends I have in Lebanon, the harder it gets to coordinate reunions with friends scattered around the globe. That’s the real reason we’re all here tonight, we have nothing better to do while we’re visiting the family in a country that we all plan to return to someday.

Same schools, same socio-economic backgrounds, same age, similar starting-points, such different paths. The differences that didn’t matter when we were 13, the lifestyle choices that seemed funny or secondary when we were 22, this is when they all feel very real.

Yes, this is what it all comes down to:

These are the Louboutins you can afford if you study hard, go to engineering school and become a banker.

This is how bad your skin looks and how bad your liver feels if you did too much drugs in your early 20’s.

This is the haircut you get when you live in Dubai.

This is the accent you get when you live in Ireland. 

We are the closest thing to each other’s alternative reality, we are each other’s “what might have been”, if only we had done things differently. There’s no lesson to learn though, it’s too late for that. For the first time in our lives perhaps, we can see to what extent our paths have irremediably diverged and there’s just no going back.

30 is very grownup.

30 is not 28.

30 is no joke.

This is not a drill, why do we still feel so unprepared?

White wine is poured, white whines too. Small, innocent complaints, random nagging, stories from around the world, life events, things we need like to tell each other because we’re all so far from home now and the point of no return is still so new it hurts. Not just in life but geographically, it’s now clear we’ll always be far apart, so we savour our random girl’s night in and pretend we never got lost.

The older you get, the more you value those precious people who knew you before you were an adult. Those who knew you before you made a mess of your life, before the discreet plastic surgery, those who know your mother’s cooking, those who knew you before you took all the wrong turns, those who pronounce your full name with the right accent.

We can pretend it doesn’t matter and forget that one of us has a baby and a mortgage, that some of us still live like teenagers, that one of us just had to move back home and that one of us has had cancer. We can pretend life did not happen, that we’re still in our playground, gossiping about classmates whose last names we forgot. We can pretend just for tonight.

It feels so good to hear people say my name with the right accent.


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