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Social Menopause: Have You Gone Through “The Change” Yet?

Maybe, if the things you used to deem fun now just make you tired.

10.05.16
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It came a bit sooner than expected but the change is here; I am going through late-twenties social menopause. My doctor, who asked me to please stop bypassing the receptionist by booking appointments online under different profiles and to instead see a therapist, confirmed my suspicions.

Symptoms include the following:

– Hot flashes at bars that require me to take my jacket off 100 times and render me unsure of what to do with it when it is off

– Being unable to hear at very trendy restaurants

Waking up early out of nowhere and therefore needing to be in bed by 12 a.m. at the latest or else I turn into a walnut

– Pain (orthopedic and back-focused, likely due to high heels)

– Irritability, anxiety and dry skin (the latter may just be weather-related)

–  The realization that the things you used to deem fun (partying, pre-gaming, attending after-hours, meeting new people, coming home late, staying up to watch sunsets just because you could) now just make you tired

It’s all a part of growing up, of letting the creaky panels of wood that make up your old house expand, shrink back and settle into place. That which fueled your younger self lit a fire under your ass for a reason: you had to get out there, make friends, date everyone, be stupid, drink too much and have that in-your-twenties experience — or so you thought, or so you were told, or whatever your reasoning, you did it, and now?

Now it’s okay if you no longer want to. Late-twenties social menopause opens up space for new ventures. Maybe we’ll finally learn to cook. Maybe we’ll actually start saving. All I want to do as of the past few months — and finally it’s an itch I can no longer ignore — is turn my apartment into a home. Ground myself without feeling grounded. It’s not the feeling of “adult” that I’m craving so much as it is feeling like a human. Because didn’t twenty-three-through-seven feel a bit like a rough round of drunk ice skating?

A great idea at the time, but the next morning…

What’s tricky is when you begin to experience the change before anyone else in your social group. Not everyone understands. You get called “lame” quite often. I recently had two different guys who I used to have *things* with calculate that I am now fun about 75% of the time.

They are not wrong. I anticipate that number will shrink, too. My body is conserving energy.

Late-twenties social menopause can be isolating because it forces you to isolate yourself. You go out, but come home early. (I give the same reason every time, but the curfew keeps moving up: “Nothing good happens after 2 — 1 — 12…11?” Your friends are out, still galavanting, and what you want is for them to come home, too. “Let’s have a nice quiet dinner party,” you want to shout. “Let’s stay in, drink wine, play charades and be in bed by ten!”

We are still so young, they remind me.

I’m just not sure this is about age.

What it has done is reignited friendships with those who went through social menopause years before I did. Friends who, for some time now, have touted the benefits of calming down. Who explained that you don’t waste the city by staying in. (You go outside during the day, don’t you? Try new cafes? Walk for dessert after dinner?)

Maybe they were on to something.

Illustration by Charlotte Trounce; follow her on Instagram @charlottetrounce.

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  • ReadER451

    Amelia, I love this, your writing, and (not to sound crazy) you too!

    • Haley Nahman

      So do I!

    • Harling Ross

      v common affliction

    • Amelia Diamond

      i love you back and you harling and you haley

  • Mary

    This is really lovely, I wish I were this self-aware!

    • Amelia Diamond

      If you can say that then you are!

  • yes, yes, and yes. One of my favourite MR posts ever.

  • Celeste

    Yess! Already been through it. A little early, am 25 (goes nicely with early onset grays), but really love not being hungover like, ever. Also, in regard to the ~creating a home~ piece, I definitely think about collecting house plants more than I ever have, and framing prints.

  • This is everything. I get SO EXCITED NOW for a nice quiet evening, hanging out with gal pals on the back deck over a nice Oregon Pinot. Why can’t the world at large accept this as an acceptable (preferable) substitute to tequila shots at an oonsakasaoonsakasa fog-lit smoke-filled icky-sticky bar?

  • There’s nothing wrong with feeling like this. The problem comes when you feel pressured to still do these things, even in your late twenties. You’re an adult, you can do whatever you want to do, even say no…

    http://madelienerose.com

  • Julia Hogikyan

    I’m 22 and I’ve felt this way for 2 years lol. My boyfriend and I stay in and make food and drinks and play board games most Saturday nights. It’s the best. 👵🏼❤️👴🏼

    • I’m also in my early 20s (turning 24 soon) and I mostly feel this way. I did my partying for a few years when I was 18, but I’ve also been in a relationship for 5 years so we definitely have a lot of nights in. I don’t mind going out but I prefer to chill at a nice bar than go clubbing. I’m over dealing with creepy guys and stupid-drunk girls. I do like going to specific events though.

  • Lola

    MR I love all the multiple new stories every day, but would so love a ‘long-read’ type thing maybe every couple of days/week. I think the above article is a case in point, I think this deserves more analysis! It’s a trend with my little brother’s generation; a large proportion of them do not drink, they eat ridiculously consciously and exercise all the time, and they stay in. Is this a response to the recession and the dual pressures of no-money and will-need-to-be-ready-to-face-whatever-because-nothing-will-drop-into-my-lap-anymore?

    • Yes I agree. MR’s opinions on this phenomenon would be very interesting to me. I eat a lot of green beans and go to the gym and don’t drink and I’m 26. My older relatives think I’m basically a crazy nun, but a lot of friends are the same.

      • Samantha s

        Agreed @Lola! My 19 year sister literally turned her nose up at a Squirt and Vodka I made her before a college football game. And her grounds were even worse, “it’s too strong”. I mean. What do you say. I was so confused. I felt like a woman well past her prime…”When I was your age…I would have killed to be handed a squirt and vodka. Not everyone is born with older siblings you know!”.

      • Amelia Diamond

        Oh but to that point — someone DID write an article about this, about how there’s a much more health conscious generation below mine… It was either Wash Post, NY Times or NY Mag but I can’t find it. Doing some googling and will post it here soon!

    • Amelia Diamond

      Oo this is interesting to know that you’d be into more of a long read!! Will bring it up,

  • LaurelHill

    crone life’s the life for me

  • true story i went to the doctors last year and got my ears checked because i have trouble hearing people talk to me at bars. they found nothing wrong, i paid $600 for the test. I still can’t hear anything.

    • Hennalounge

      I have that problem too, where it’s hard for me to pick out one sound if there are a lot of other sounds, it’s like chaos! But I can hear a pin drop in another room if it’s quiet.

      • Amelia Diamond

        ME TOO to both of these

    • I am so happy I am not the only one, damn

  • kittenish

    I feel this so much. I’m turning 24 at the end of the month but I’ve been feeling like this for the past 1.5 or 2 years.

  • Molly D

    Amelia, you are the Emily Dickinson of our generation. Stay in, write, wear all white, but don’t get depressed.

    “Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.” I guess she didn’t take her own advice so we shouldn’t either. Doors closed ladies!!!

    • Amelia Diamond

      good lord what a complement that I don’t deserve! thank you.

      Working on all of these – Stay in, write, wear all white, but don’t get depressed.

  • Abby

    My social menopause is in full swing. I bought a house about six months ago and I honestly never want to leave it. It also doesn’t help that my married and almost all of my friends are single, because they want to meet guys and that isn’t going to work for me. UGH JUST COME OVER FOR DINNER WHY DO YOU WANT TO GO OUT

  • Taste of France

    It’s hard to keep gainful employment if you’re out partying all the time. Eventually those shouted conversations get old–you can’t go very deep when shouting.
    If you never change, you end up like Wooderson in Dazed and Confused.

    • Amelia Diamond

      sigh

  • Lauren

    It’s hard to comment when your comment is just YES ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  • dk

    Welcome to the club, Amelia! Here are your thermo socks and a glass of fancy ass tequila that you can sip for the next hour.
    So much of this! I hit my menopause around 25 and never looked back. Now I buy fancy alcohol(that is way too expensive), drink it slowly over months and find it superb that I can just stop after one glass. Once every two months I’ll come home at the crack at down. But on every other night, come 2 o’clock, I grab my bag, go home, take a shower, take my make up off, floss, get into bed, and give myself the thumbs up for doing the grown-up thing well.

    • Amelia Diamond

      ooo i feel so self righteous and good when i floss after drinking

  • laraerae

    Am I you Amelia? Are you me?

    I think I hit social menopause early because I get crippling hangovers – unable to eat or drink water and dry heaving until 4 p.m. the next day? Nope, just CAN’T DO IT! I got old lady things I need to be ready for – Early morning runs. Trying new crockpot recipes. DIY projects. Cleaning my windows.

  • Maggie Lanham

    YES TO ALL OF THIS. I’d like to add to the symptom list the exquisite rush of exultation that comes with canceled plans – whether I initiated or not. As the great scribe John Mulaney says, “In terms of like, instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin.”

    • Cecilia Nardini

      ^ THIS!!

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahah i know that is one of my top 10 fav quotes everr

  • sarah

    Yes yes yes. I bought a house with friends and i barely leave it; we have huge dinner parties every week, and a garden, and a large front porch from which to drink coffee slowly. No amount of money would be enough for me to rewind time. These regular days are the sweetest yet.

  • kes

    this is everything.

  • Melanie

    This is so interesting. I’ve actually been adjusting to my friends having social menopause, and accepting that at 29, I’m feeling super confident and grounded in who I am and I’m excited about being out and about in a more dynamic way. In no way do I yearn to do the things I did at 23. But, I’m feeling so invigorated that I can’t contain myself. My mom calls it coming into your own. So now, my struggle is learning to be out and about on my own since my friends don’t have the same kind of energy I do. I do vow to date a man (long-term) that loves to dance and party with me. 🙂

    • Amelia Diamond

      I love this comment so mcuh

  • Hennalounge

    Uff just wait until you hit your 40s. Even getting out of bed becomes a chore.

  • As usual you read my mind. It’s SO TRUE. And I actually feel….happier? There is no more FOMO and it feels so gooood.

  • Sabletoothtigre

    Hot tips to get get your pre-social-menopausal friends to come over and chill: Cook a thing really well and get them hooked, get an xBox or Playstation, get a big-screen TV and some sorta premium channels your friends don’t have, have a really cute pet/roommate, wine on tap, or my personal fave — face mask nights but you have all the fancy skincare products.

    • This is pure genius.

    • Amelia Diamond

      yup, into this

  • b.e.g.

    Ha ha, love it. Now when you fall down drunk (and cut your hand from the broken crystal, sorry Sis, I’ll replace them) from too much champagne, you are safe at home with friends (hopefully). And learning to cook is a good thing, for yourself not for future others, just to eat healthier. Because once your body realizes it’s mid 30s, it slows down anyway, and all those late night out calories just go south. And from your new vantage point you get to watch your friends make asses of themselves. 20s = party time. 30s = sophistication.

    • Amelia Diamond

      fuckkk all of you guys are really making me think about cooking

  • Is it bad that I have social menopause and I’m only 20????

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahah nope

  • YES. YES. YES. During my first year as a working girl, I would go out at least twice every week. Now (six years later), I very much look forward to being in bed by 10PM on a Friday night. If I’m ever feeling social, you’ll find me at a weekend market.

  • Kath Wilson

    The social menopause only lasts till you have had kids…. then the urge to party till late COBE’s back for about 5 yrs! Befor social menopause sets in again about 40! 😆😆 I can only put it down too…. kids wearing you out as babies, they get to 4/5yrs then you get a sudden burst of energy again! Like it’s your last chance to prove “your not to old to party & you still got ur mojo” 😜

  • Upholstered Gun

    Relax, if you are lucky, once you get your kids launched, if you go that route, you can go back to enjoying night life. I’m 55 and my husband and I go to clubs in the city frequently and have reconnected with all our pre-kids friends. I am having way more fun now than when I was in my twenties. The angst is gone, as is FOMO. you realize life is to be savored in the moment.

    • Amelia Diamond

      Love this! Maybe I just need to recharge my battery for a while and then I’ll be good to go.

  • So CLEVER and relatable ! I adore you ladies!

    Priscilla Ivette,
    http://www.thepollenblog.com/

  • StevenRojas

    I might be the only man here, but 1000% down with this. I cant stay up past 11pm anymore, I rather wake up early and run, drive upstate, go to the gym.

  • StevenRojas

    ….wait, whats the version of this for men?

    • Amelia Diamond

      social MANopause

  • Anna

    Ahh, yes. The glorious days of champagne showers and 4am breakfasts. I think I was going out at least 5 days a week for about 3 years (19, 20 and 21yo). At 22 I was still quite social, but my body couldn’t handle as much redbull anymore, so the days I spent partying were shrinking. By the time I turned 23 I realized I’m eternally bored, and want none of this anymore. I was on my last year of school and had a very light class schedule, so I picked up part-time job as a hostess at a craft cocktail bar, and then another one. This was a perfect transition for me as I stayed social and connected to all my party friends, but also started having responsibilities and some income.

    Last year I moved to NYC for a job. I didn’t know anyone in the city, but I found didn’t need to go out to make friends. Instead, I was introduced to people at work events, and by some friends who visited the city. I never felt lonely, although I was spending a significant (compared to my past ‘socialite’ life!) amount of time by myself. I’ve learned how much I love museums, and discovered ballet. I got into running and participated in organized runs. I like exploring the city during daytime, and go to bed at 10pm on most nights. Trust me, there is enough to do during the day! And when I do want a drink, I don’t torture my body with cheap tequila shots, I go to a nice craft cocktail bar for a drink instead (it doesn’t hurt neither my liver nor my budget because I’m not there every day).

    TL,DR: I am very comfortable not going out every night/weekend as I used to. I’ve discovered new interests, and didn’t lose any friends. I go to bed by 10pm. Grandma lifestyle is the best.

    • Amelia Diamond

      This is awesome!!

  • Methuselah
    • Amelia Diamond

      interestingg

  • kellymcd

    Oh this hits home, HARD. I’m halfway through my 26th year of life and this is setting in. But, since I roll with a crew of 23-24 year olds, I can still jump back into early 20s me whenever I want. Toeing the line between the two worlds is so ideal, actually. Whenever I want to be more “fun” and “young”, I just go out with them, then retreat for a month of menopause.

    But I really feel the creating a home part. That started happening ~18 months ago and I’ve spent so much time on Pintrest and Apartment Therapy looking up home decor and then failing to recreate it my apartment. Someone help me please and save me from myself

  • Erika Galan

    SO MUCH YES!!

    I have been thinking… As a long-time sufferer of social menopause, that possibly this is a reflection of the changing times? In general, who really “parties” anymore? I think that was a phase of the 90’s and 00’s. Every once in a while is good (I suppose) but aren’t we seeing a shift like this in the younger millennials as well? The other day my 22 year old cousin suggested we have a “wine and cheese and cards against humanity night.” I was shocked considering most 22 year old’s in Miami are just praying they can get into Liv and somehow get their hands on some free watered down vodka tonics.

    Perhaps this is a new age of slowing down and enjoying the times instead of living so fast you can’t remember them.

    xErika

  • grace b

    Sitting here trying to rally so I can go out to see a friend’s band play at freaking 9:30 pm!!! Do you know how late that is!?

  • Ana

    Totally me, right now. But I’m worry about the isolation. I feel I should keep working on making more friends, but I just don’t want to!

    • Nicole Trovarelli

      I feel you on this!

  • tck62

    The key to a happy life is to make your home where you want to be. If you don’t you will always be looking over the next horizon chasing a mirage.

    • Amelia Diamond

      amen

  • Is it bad that I feel this way and I’m 22? Just coming off the back of a booze-filled holiday in Greece with my girlfriends and I’m having more fun doing the groceries and writing to-do lists. Help?

    • Kattigans

      Totally normal! I love traveling but every time I go on a trip, even with as much fun as I have, I’m always looking forward to going home and taking a nap lol. Groceries are fun! To-do lists are productive! It just means you’re starting to prioritize things that have to happen. Welcome to adulting 🙂

  • Emily Dee

    Correction: Those sexist guys who said you’re “fun 75% of the time” are wrong and you should probably stay away from them.

  • what a revelation it was earlier this year when i realised that most of the energy i had for my play-hard-work-hard (weekend homework as in running and running errands) weekends was leftover red bull from the friday night. apparently there’s only so much of that that my adrenals could handle so hello adrenal fatigue, nice to meet you. my skin also REVOLTED after too many nights passing out, forcing me to slap on a face mask and stay in, have a bath, journal, and a few indulgences and oh hey maybe it wasn’t as bad as all that’s been mentioned above. it wasn’t easy, FOMO/withdrawals and all but i would’ve probably ended up being full zombie soon at the rate i was going.

    the other night i made it home by 3am but that involved a long and slow could-either-end-in-bed-or-out dinner/pregame of sorts and a glorious nap/quick run before that. i also managed to stumble in the bath when i got home which helped mitigate the wooo-yeah hot mess factor of the past mornings.

  • I’m 24, and I started feeling this for over a year now, and being in a long-term relationship for the majority of it, it was too easy to stay in. I’m just always tired and boring after every work week. Where to get energy

  • Martyna

    OMG Yes! There’s zero FOMO for me, in most cases if I force myself to go out, I just stand there thinking ‘I’d much rather be reading a good book at home or having a deep conversation on a comfy couch’. However the toughest part is my closest friends, who have not entered this phase yet (I don’t think they will). Now I get comments that I’m ‘negative’, or ‘nothing is good enough’, but that’s SO not the case. I just don’t want it anymore. Advice?

  • I definitely feel more drained these days from social interactions. While I love getting to see friends, when it becomes a big group get together, I am mentally drained at the end of it. Also, I find that in large groups I spend more time getting to know new people on the surface (what do you do, where are you from), rather than having a more meaningful conversation with my closer friend there.

  • Aurora

    whatever happens, enjoy life, Accept we get As Grace

  • Valerie

    I am experiencing this as a 19 year old. Have been drinking and going to bars and clubs since I was 15. Now I just want to stay at home and bake pies lol

  • DyanSwan

    I made a choice about 10 years ago to reduce my social circle to those people I really like. The circle is smaller now and I don’t see my friends as often as I used to, but when I do see them, I enjoy our time together. Also, I’ve learned to do more things on my own, like taking myself on date night to a movie and a meal. I’m an introvert, so this all works well for me.

  • Ronisha Bhattacharyya

    A friend talked about social menopause and BANG! I end up here, every word in the article makes sense. I am 27 now and there was a time when Id frikin club after my work till 1/2 in the morning , drunk, stashed and make it to work again the next day. I dont know how I managed back then, its really tough leading that life. And thanks to this change, I am saving some money and brain space man! keep these write-ups coming!

  • PCE

    THANK YOU for putting this into words! I’ve been going through this for a year or two and have been totally confused as to why I felt this way but my friends didn’t. My experiences are still great but different – instead of meeting random people in a diner at 3am, I wandered around the depths of Chinatown at lunchtime and also met some amazing people AND had way better food. P

  • Dapef31

    Has anybody ever addressed the early 20’s social anxiety? Its real and I am severeley going through it. Would LOVE a post about it, any takers??

  • KayHay

    Holy smokes you hit my ~mood~ right on the nose. No new friends, no loud restaurants, in bed by 11:30 latest, preferred Saturday activity includes tea and a good book. Glad I’m not the only one.

  • This is so intensely accurate-Amelia, how does it feel to be the straight up voice of a generation? I’ve been living in Paris since my very early twenties, my first summer here was all about the outdoor nighttime drinking and seeing the sunset. Now I find myself fighting the feelings of “should I be out having some sort of experience or is it cool if I just want to make some sort of excellent dinner and stay in?”. I literally have no idea what to do with myself now that I don’t like staying out until I can get the first metro home.

  • Kattigans

    I’m going through this too at 25. I ordered a 20 piece set of pyrex tupperware and was ecstatic when it came. Unpacking it in my kitchen felt so good haha.. I took that as a sign that I’ve truly entered full fledge adulting.