The other day, as my friends and I sat around a table sipping Doolally’s famous apple cider, my friend looked at me said, “You’re turning twenty-one in a couple months! Now you can party legally!” Everyone laughed, including me, even though the comment left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. Apart from the fact that turning twenty-one doesn’t really mean much in India, the idea of going for “parties” with her nauseated me. Don’t get me wrong. I love my friend; I just don’t enjoy partying with her.
Yes, I realise how strange that sounds. I’m turning twenty-one and I don’t enjoy partying and perhaps never will. I have no interest in getting “bombed” or “turning up.” I have friends who love to party and stay up nights and while I enjoy hanging out with them, the whole idea of partying and in an effort to have an aggressively good time doesn’t appeal to me on any level. Maybe I don’t know how to party or haven’t found the right people to party with. But at the end of the day, just the inherent desire to party it up is not something I nurture.
I was an introvert as a child. At one point, between the ages of eleven and twelve, I was virtually friendless. But as I grew older, I found people I enjoyed spending time with and was welcomed into a world where being different didn’t mean that you had to be lonely. It was a fascinating revelation and it lifted the weight of societal expectations and paradigms off my shoulders. Several of my friends and family members today will disagree, but I’m not an introvert. My idea of having fun is just different from theirs’. While some of my friends celebrate their twenty-first birthdays in pubs, all I can think about is how much I want to spend by birthday travelling somewhere or having a nice little sleepover with my closest friends at home.
“Don’t you get bored sitting at home?”
I get this question all the time, even from people close to me. First of all, I don’t sit at home all the time. When I’m tired from work, yes, I’d rather watch a nice movie on Netflix than go out, but I do enjoy going out. Just not to the places you do. Second, no, I don’t get bored, even when it’s just me at home. I like spending time with myself as much as I do with other people. It’s a colossal misconception that introverts or ambiverts who don’t like “having fun” the conventional way are fundamentally boring people. We like having fun, just not your way. My idea of fun can involve reading a good book in bed or playing a game of Jenga over beers. You see, the thing about having fun is that there are no rules, so anyone can have fun doing anything. I’m lucky enough to have found other people who enjoy doing the things I do. They don’t like the barrage of loud music and dancing, either. And, believe it or not, some of them are extroverts.
So if you’re like me — someone who likes socialising but not “partying,” per se, then tell your concerned friends and family members not to worry about you. You’ll find people like yourself and have a good time. I used to be worried about not living my life to the fullest until I realised that people who live a more enthused lifestyle about parties and such aren’t living a more cohesive life than me. It just seems like they are because that’s the kind of image we’ve been fed of fun-loving and confident individuals by popular culture. Here’s to staying in, getting shitfaced only occasionally, and turning twenty-one!