Disclaimer: This essay is not meant to represent any other individual’s experience, besides my own.

When I was 15 years old, I attended my very first rock concert. Dragging along an acquaintance, we saw All Time Low at the famous Minneapolis venue, First Avenue—the home of one of the most iconic and influential musicians of rock and roll history, Prince. It was one of the best nights of my life at the time, but it wasn’t until a year later when I started going to concerts alone.

I’ve written an entire essay about why I go to concerts alone, but this essay recognizes that I am not the same concert-goer I was at 15. I would show up early and watch the opening bands I usually didn’t care about to be as close to the stage as possible. I would crowd-surf and jump into circle pits and mosh pits, despite being only 5 feet tall. There were several times when I left the venue with a few bruises, and one time when I was attempting to crowd-surf I fell flat on my back onto the tile floor. For nearly five years, I attended every show companion-less and carefree, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Today, however, I acknowledge that I don’t experience concerts the same way I used to. I find myself viewing the show either from the venue’s upper balcony or from the very back if the venue is small enough for me to still see the stage. I don’t like being in huge, sweaty crowds that feel as compact as a can of sardines. Hell, I rarely go to concerts alone now unless it’s for work (and yes, I have reviewed a few bands that I don’t care too much for.) Not to mention, if the concert is on a week night when I woke up at 6 A.M. that morning, I am already thinking about sleeping as the second opening band begins playing.

Does this mean that I want to stop going to concerts all together? Not at all! I will always consider myself a concert-enthusiast and concert-going will forever remain one of my favorite hobbies. To me, one of the best feelings comes from hearing your favorite band play your favorite song live, with everyone else in the crowd enjoying it as much as you are. I do not experience concerts the same way I did when I was 15, and I am more than okay with that.