11 Things I Want On My 21st Birthday Instead Of A Free Drink

11 Things I Want On My 21st Birthday Instead Of A Free Drink

I'm not talking about alcohol

There is this very strong idea that your 21st birthday has to be one to remember, even though you were too drunk to do so. They expect you to go nuts and drink until you are blue, figuratively and literally. I hear people constantly telling of their great 21st birthday endeavors, but they never seemed to appeal to me. I think that there is more to celebrate being 21 other than the ability to drink in public.

There are so many possibilities at this age. You can be spontaneous and unapologetically happy. You can set the world on fire. You can take no prisoners. I think being 21 should embody more than alcohol and party. I mean let's be honest, college has left none of us naive. I don't think there is a magical difference in the taste or effects of liquor from the day before your 21st or the day after.

I am not saying that I won't indulge or have fun, so to speak. I will, in fact, have so much fun - with or without alcohol. I want to remember my 21st and look back at all the friendships I made and the great quality of life I had before it is just a distant memory.

So, for my 21st birthday I want:

1. Peace.

When I blow out the candles this year, the greatest thing I can wish for is peace. Whether it's peace in my own mind, personal life, or worldwide. There is so much confusion and hostility in the world right now, that I think peace is a great birthday wish. From a personal point of view, I wish for peace in my situations and peace in my heart.

2. Maturity.

One thing I have learned about being in college is that I know absolutely nothing. I have always been told that I am mature beyond my years and a "grown-up kid", but with more and the more things I experience, the more I learn about myself. I wish for maturity this year because I am not just a young 21 year old, I am also a fricken grown up now.

3. A puppy.

A puppy will definitely be on my wish list.

4. Men to act like men.

Please, for the love of Oreos and milk, can "men" start acting like actual men. It is so sad, actually, that most boys in college are not actually men. They act like children and want to treat girls like they are big men. They don't take no for an answer and they "get what they want."

They take advantage of girls, not just sexually, but in a sense where they make you feel bad for not giving them answers to their homework. This is not a generalization about all "men," but for my birthday I wish that they can act more like real men.

5. Money.

Cha-Ching baby! No, but seriously I really want some cold hard cash for my birthday. Money might not buy happiness, but it sure does take away the extra stress of rent, utilities, gas, and my Chinese takeout fund.

6. Candles.

If I had to describe myself as an object, it would be a candle. It is glowing and warm, but don't get too close because I'll burn you. A candle is a hug in a jar; home in a container; and a story of a lifetime burned over and over. Plus I am a personal fan of pumpkin smells and it's that time of year.

7. A pantsuit.

There is nothing more empowering than walking into a room of men dressed in a pantsuit and heels with a glow that you're going to show them. A true mark of womanhood in my mind. Feminine and fierce.

8. Courage.

I actually ask for this every year. Every month. Every week. Every morning. This year at age 21 it is crucial that I be courageous. I am coming into my shoes, and I need to be humble and hard working. As I kill my twenties, I am hopeful that I will be able to find my passions and work for them. Courage to me is also the ability to fall over and over but stand every time with the hope of standing. Bring on 21.

9. Relationships that matter.

I'm not talking about romantic (although I wouldn't oppose) relationships. I do not have time to waste on people who aren't there for me, and I also don't want to waste time on people I don't care for. This is not being mean, but rather being honest in the sense of knowing what I want. I am so grateful for the friends I have now and those who lift me up. For my birthday, I want to spend my time with those I love and forget those who I do not deserve my love.

10. Something homemade.

Surprisingly, I am not a huge fan of the idea of gift buying. I do, however, like gift giving. Yes, they are different. There is something so special and bonding about hearing someone say, "I saw this and thought of you". I would much rather receive a gift made from the heart that is personal and thoughtful than a gift card to Panera Bread.

11. Hugs.

Okay, okay. I am NOT a hugger, but that is something I plan to work on this year. There is something so powerful about wrapping your arms around another person ( wow this doesn't sound creepy). A hug is a single gesture that means way more than words. I will do my best to spread my unspoken love to others. So please, if you see me, give me a hug.

If you literally can't think of anything else to get me of my birthday, I would not be opposed to a glass, lime, and salt - the rest can be implied.

Cover Image Credit: Etsy

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.


While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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