I have about a month before I turn 30, so I'm on the lookout for unwelcome signs of wisdom and maturity. What I noticed this week:
I've stopped caring about New Year's Eve.
Not in a bah-humbug way, but it just doesn't have the hold on me that it used to.
New Year's Eve is like the rare ex-boyfriend with whom I've achieved genuine friendship - we have an OK time in each other's company, but I don't bother trying to look devastatingly beautiful around him anymore.
It's a big step for me. I used to put enormous effort into having a good time on New Year's Eve. I had to have the Best Night Ever™, ideally with plenty of witnesses and photo documentation.
And I was unwilling to admit defeat. In my senior year of high school, my girlfriends and I went out to a nice prix-fixe dinner. I wasn't feeling too good after eating the lobster salad, but my then-boyfriend was throwing a party, and I was wearing my new sequin shrug - remember when shrugs were a thing? I was going to be seen. With increasing queasiness, I sweated it out until 11, when my best friend had to take me home.
We stopped twice for me to puke along the side of the road.
By the time the ball dropped, I was Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
It got so bad, my mom took me to the ER.
Imagine you're a 17-year-old girl sick to the point of passing out on New Year's Eve, and then imagine trying to persuade jaded ER docs that you aren't drunk.
After initial skepticism and several blood tests, I was diagnosed with toxicity poisoning from a bad lobster. I almost wished it had been champagne.
But I achieved my goal of staying up all night - on IV fluids.
In my sophomore year of college, my best friend took me as her plus-one to a fancy cocktail party her friends were throwing in New York City. We took the train in, got a hotel room (that our moms probably paid for), primped like it was prom, and headed out on one of the coldest New Year's Eves in memory.
At 20, we felt incredibly grown-up - we were in formal dresses with older boys in the big city, and I was utterly certain this was the first night of our glamorous adult lives.
Plus, I'd recently broken up with my high school sweetheart and the only boy I'd ever kissed, so I was determined to find new love on the most romantic night of the year.
Finding true love took longer than I expected.
Fast-forward to 3:30 a.m. the first morning of the New Year, the two of us shivering on the sidewalk, our legs frozen numb, but our feet on fire after hours in high heels. We were waiting much too politely as cab after cab went to other people.
So I improvised.
Unable to withstand the pain of my shoes a minute longer, I dug plastic bags out of the trash and tied them to my feet.
Hobbling in my bag slippers, we managed to hail an off-duty party bus and beg the driver to take us back to our hotel.
He took pity on us - it was the shoes.
But if that isn't dedication to having fun on NYE, I don't know what is.
Over time, my desperate need to do the coolest and hippest thing has subsided. The invisible audience judging my social life has dispersed. And the resulting quiet makes it easier to focus on what I cherish every year.
Like last year - I spent the holiday with my best friend, the same girl who held my hair back and also helped me find clean takeout bags for my feet, only instead we celebrated by sitting on the couch in my mother's house, giggling at our old high school yearbooks.
It was one of my favorite New Year's Eves.
This year, the most tantalizing invite I received was from a close friend throwing a "New Year's Eve Stay-In" at his apartment.
A small group of friends in a room quiet enough to hear them talk? Sounds perfect.
I no longer need champagne and sequins to have a great night. The calmer celebrations may not yield the crazy stories or the false envy on Instagram, but my ego will survive. And my heart will be happy.
Happy New Year!