When I was 18 I really felt like I was the sh-t. I’m going to be honest…my bangs were still a little fluffier than they should have been in 1994, and…I hate to say it…but there may have still been shoulder pads somewhere in my wardrobe. But they were balanced out by my Doc Martens and budding flannel shirt collection. Every Sunday night my girlfriends and I would head downtown to First Avenue and dance our a-ses off. There was usually moshing involved (we were such grungy preppy suburban girls it wasn’t even funny). I may or may not have lost real pearl earrings in the mosh pit. We would walk in looking perfect (as perfect as 18 year olds in 1994 could look) and left soaking with sweat, missing earrings, and with nothing but anticipation for the next Sunday. It was truly my happy place.
At First Ave. I was confident, and happy, and sassy, and funny, and could not care less what people thought of me. I was there to enjoy my friends, and music, and I felt at home. There were other places like that. We have a chain of lakes where I spent nearly every waking second of my summers. Rollerblading, cruising for guys with my girlfriends, and having ice cream at Sebastian Joe’s. All of these places made me feel like ME.
When I met my husband we realized that we’d often been in the same places, many times at the lakes or First Ave., but had never met. We’d both seen the Beastie Boys several times, Stone Temple Pilots, Public Enemy, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Juliana Hatfield, and Prince. We’d even celebrated the Millennium with the same group of people at First Ave. but we weren’t with one another.
We’ve been together for five years and we’ve never been to any of my happy places together. I’ve been a couple of times by myself but never with him. When we go out downtown, which is rare, we go to nice restaurants for dinner and then to bars that cater to…ahem…an older crowd. Please hold while I weep.
A couple of months ago my husband found out The Mighty Mighty Bosstones were coming to First Ave. Now…this happens a lot…we’ll hear of an upcoming concert at a great venue and we’ll exclaim “we HAVE to go!!!” And then we realize we have the little girls that night, or we decide it’s too expensive, or it feels like too much work. But The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are one of his faves. And as I’ve established, First Ave. is one of my faves. So we bought tickets.
Tonight we’re headed downtown to enjoy a concert we both saw in 1994 at the exact same place. I had grand plans of getting gussied in jeans and heels but realized how miserable I’d be within an hour of arriving (cough, cough, I’m 36!). So I’m kicking it old school in flats. We’re even grabbing cash so we can buy t-shirts. And I fully plan to pretend like I’m 18 again. In preparation, all day, I’ve been listening to bands like Rage Against the Machine, Bjork, Beastie Boys, Alice in Chains, Nine Inch Nails, and Soundgarden. I’m so excited to go to one of my happiest places with my husband. And I’m wondering why I don’t make getting there more of a priority.
These are places in which I feel like I’m home and they make me feel like the best version of myself. Maybe I should try to, oh I don’t know, spend a little time there every once and awhile?
TODAY: What if I make an effort to get back to places that make me feel like like my bitchin’ 18-year-old self again? What if instead of finding excuses not to get out and do things we know we’ll enjoy, we just buy the tickets, and go?