As it is my birthday in a few days, I decided to share with you the struggle that myself, and likely many others face, while turning 21 and attempting to stay sober. For some reason, there is a sort of stigma attached to not wanting to go out drinking to celebrate turning 21, which I think is ridiculous. Sure, drinking is something that I can now legally do, but it’s not like on my 18th birthday, everyone took me out to register to vote...This country would probably be a better place if that was the social norm, but I digress.
If I have to hear, “Ohhhh the big 21, finally get to go out and have some fun!” one more time, I think my head will explode. Firstly, anyone who knows me will know that I’m not exactly a social butterfly and I would much prefer a night in, as a opposed to a night out. Secondly, my idea of fun is hanging out with a few friends, not waking up with a hangover. Perhaps this makes me boring for skipping the party girl stage, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
I have absolutely nothing against people who choose to drink, I just personally choose not to. I don’t blame the people who just automatically assume that there is nothing I'd rather do than go out and get drunk on my 21st; how could they know that I have highly personal reasons why I choose not to? I guess what I am trying to say that it is easy to assume these sort of things, especially when you don’t really know the person. However, by assuming and saying things of this sort, it opens both of us up to a bit of awkwardness. I say that I don’t drink, you wonder why, then I have to try to give an explanation without telling my whole life story to someone who I consider to be a stranger. My best advice is, don’t assume. You know what they say about assuming.
Thankfully, my family and friends know me well and never try to peer pressure me into drinking. Instead, they give suggestions as to other fun ways that we could celebrate my birthday. For example, a friend and I are going to see Panic! At The Disco in February and my family is taking me shopping. The possibilities are endless as to how you can celebrate; it’s your day, so do what you want with it and don’t let anyone make you feel badly for not partying the way that they see fit.To me, turning 21 means so much more than being able to legally buy and consume alcohol. It means that I am another year wiser and another year closer to graduating from college, among many other exciting things. So to anyone else who is looking to stay sober as they approach 21, know that you are not alone.