Hangovers, then and now.

Sleep deprived.

Parched.

Splitting headache.

It’s the symptoms we are all too familiar with. The result of spending an entire night imbibing alcohol.

Nobody is immune to hangovers. But how we become affected by them definitely changes over time. In college, a hangover was a necessary evil. A minor consequence of having fun. You drank all night? No big deal; just sleep until 2 p.m., and when you wake up, the hangover’s already gone.

At that age, a hangover is almost a badge of honor. The worse you feel, it means the harder you partied the night before. Mission accomplished. Just smoke some weed and you’ll be ready for Round 2 in a few hours.

HsngoverUnfortunately, with age, that attitude changes significantly.

I am now 27 years old, a little more than five years removed from college, and I already am realizing the vast difference in how my body is coping with hangovers.

The hangovers haven’t changed. They’ve always sucked. But it’s a few other factors that make them feel much, much worse.

For one, the ability to sleep into the early afternoon is long gone. On a weekend, I’m lucky if I could sleep until 10 a.m., and even then, you’re waking right at the heart of the hangover.

But what’s change the most, I think, is how we view the value of a day as we age. When I was 21, it made no difference to me if I woke up on a Sunday morning like crap. The day wasn’t going to amount to much, anyway.

Now, however, I appreciate my weekends. I like having the option of going for a morning jog, or running errands I didn’t get to during the week. But you can’t do that if you’re lying sick in bed.

So that is what I try to tell myself. It’s not so much that my body can’t tolerate hangovers anymore, but rather, I prefer to start the day lucid and clearheaded. I like to wake up after an eight-hour sleep and have a cup of coffee, rather than having to down several water bottles to refuel my system.

And instead of going to a bar on Friday night and guzzling beers, I prefer staying at home, listening to the Beach Boys, play peek-a-boo with my cats and watch Netflix in my pajamas.

You know, I was still managing to maintain a level of coolness until that last part.

 

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