I was never one to drink in my teenage years. I never partied, never snuck out, never sought drinking as even an option. You can call me a goody two shoes and that's just fine with me, it's just something I never participated in. And while I was well aware that most of my high school peers did, I never felt the pressure of it. While this was largely due to the fact that I grew up in a house with strict parents with the unwritten rule of not going out, I began to develop my own reasoning for not wanting to be apart of that type of lifestyle.

No, it's not because I don't like to have fun.

No, it's not because I'm lame, and no, it's not because I think badly of others who do this. At a young age, I realized that getting drunk wasn't something that I would ever want to do in place of having genuine time with others. I realized that while other people around me may do that, it doesn't mean that I have to, and it sure doesn't mean I have to feel bad about my decisions.

Fast forward to now, my 21st birthday. I knew for many months that this was not going to be a time that I let all my regards down and get slammed. I'm just being honest, I truly had no desire for this. So for my 21st, I got a glass of white wine at a lunch spot downtown with my best friend and had a glass of wine before bed after indulging in something I knew I would not regret — cake.

I'm excited to be able to have a glass of wine and try a new drink here and there with friends that are safe and in places where I'm comfortable in. The perk of being able to do this is exciting and fun, but it doesn't rule over my twenties — and I won't let it.

There is so much more to me, and to life than being able to have a drink. I want to be able to grow in relationships, be adventurous in all the ways that I've always wanted to be, and be confident in my own decisions to be safe while having a drink. When people ask me why I didn't completely get trashed on my 21st, I tell them it's just not my scene. The bars are not my crowd, and they probably never will be. I value being aware of my surroundings at all times to give that up for a mere night of drunken inhibition.

This also isn't to say that those who DO choose to get drunk on their 21st are bad people. Hear me out. Just because I don't live my life the same ways at others doesn't mean that I'm better than them. It doesn't make me cooler, and it doesn't mean that I look down at others. It simply means I'm choosing to live my life in a way that I believe better suits me, and different lifestyles like going out to party and get drunk are not in my field of vision. I want to love others with the full intention of accepting all of who they are, not just the bits and pieces.

So here's to my 21st year. Heres to trying new things, being intentional, and being brave.

And to my friends or anyone who reads this and actively goes out, please be safe. Please be with people that you are comfortable with, please don't let others change who you are just so you can have a night of fun, please choose to stay true to who you are even when it's hard. You are needed in this world, even if that means you have to tell others no.