Why I Didn't Get Drunk On My 21st Birthday

I Didn't Get Drunk On My 21st Birthday And I Have Zero Regrets

No, It's not because I don't know how to have a good time.


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.

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Dear Soon-To-Be Seniors

These are a few things we'd like to tell you about Senior year.

Dear soon-to-be high school seniors,

Goodbye. As the class of ahead of you, we've watched you grow, always one step behind us. As we graduate, there are some things I'd like to tell you about your last year of high school.

Yes, Senior year can be just as amazing as everyone says it is, if you make it that way. But don't think it's a blow-off year with no work. This year may hold some of the most stressful times of your life.Be prepared for late nights writing papers or hard tests that could make or break your graduation status. However, don't stress too much about homework. A question I often asked myself this year was, "in twenty years, will I remember staying up till 2am studying for Econ? Or will I remember a fun night with my friends?" Ok, probably not the best advice if you don't have the best of grades, but most of the time you stress yourself out for no reason and miss out on fun things.

Another thing, try to get on the college grind early. If you haven't already, start looking at colleges and applying! Then narrow it down as soon as you can. You don't want to be stressed about that decision in the last month of senior year. Honestly, the sooner you can make your decision, the happier and less stressed you will probably be.

It's not too late to join new things either; a lot of people join a sport or a club senior year and have a lot of fun because of it. So try that thing you've always wanted to join! Speaking of which, go to prom! I won't tell you prom is the best experience of your life because for some people it's not, but it's pretty amazing. Don't stress too much about getting a date, either the right guy/girl will show up, or you'll just go with your friends and still have a blast.

Don't be too rude to the underclassmen. You were that young just a few years ago. And they're the ones who usually put your senior nights together, so make sure you thank them. Also keep in mind that they are looking up to you. Remember those seniors you looked up to just a few short years ago? Be a good example. Take your place in the school as Seniors and continue where we left off; carry on the legacy of your school and be proud of it.

If your school does Kairos (or a similar senior retreat), be absolutely open to it! If it's your thing, enjoy it! If it's not your thing, still try to be open to it. You don't have to love it, but at least don't hate on it before you've even been. Bonding with your class is a big part of senior year. I made so many new friends this year that I never thought I would if it hadn't been for Kairos.

Speaking of which, be open to new friends. Whether they're seniors or not, talk to everyone. In a few months, you may never see those kids again, so it's worth getting to know them past just being friends on Facebook. Also, don't give up on dating people in your class. Yeah, there's only a few months left and you've spent the last 4 years with these people, but there might be one person out there who could change your whole year for the better if you give them the chance.

Above all, enjoy it. You only get one senior year, so make it count. Go to everything you possibly can: every football game, dance, party, musical, bonfire, etc. Enjoy wearing the jersey of your team for the last time, taking your last bow on your high school stage, and turning in your last final, because it will all be gone within the blink of an eye. You'll find yourself walking down the aisle in a cap and gown of those same school colors you thought you despised (but really, you'll secretly miss). You'll look at your favorite teachers lined up behind you and your family sitting in front of you, and most importantly your class around you, and I hope, I really hope, you don't regret a single moment of senior year.

Cover Image Credit: Anna Skog

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College Can Be Difficult, But Trust Yourself, Girl

Life can throw you curveballs sometimes, and times can get tough, but it is SO important to pick yourself up and trust that you can do anything.


I'll be honest, this school year was one of the hardest years of my life. There were lots of moments throughout the year that I just wanted to go home and get away from it all. I had to be reminded that I have been raised to try as hard as you possibly can, and I was doing that. It took some determination and time, but I didn't give up.

No matter how bad I felt, I stayed and persevered.

Now that I am home for the summer, I have been reminiscing on the past two semesters of school. At the beginning of the school year, I had a much different idea of how it would go. It was going to be "my year," but somehow while the year was going on, I felt that I had been completely wrong. It's easy to come to quick conclusions when life doesn't exactly go your way. Conclusions like "this year has been the worst year ever" and "I can never get a break" were often popping up in my head. My grades weren't where I wanted them, and I was surprised by a lot of occurrences that I never expected to happen (imagine a wild ride). I found out who my true friends are and who I could rely on, and luckily, my circle only grew. Being extremely extroverted, it was hard for me to get out and just do something. Being in this "rut" took a toll on me. I had to make those hard decisions about doing what was best for me in the long run instead of doing something just for the moment. Trust me when I say, this was NOT easy at all.

Through all the tears and change all around me, I decided to proceed to the finish line because I am NOT a quitter.

I decided that it was time for me to allow myself to fully, undeniably be me. I wanted to start doing the little things I enjoy again like working out, taking pictures, and simply just going out to do anything. I started forcing myself to take any opportunity that came my way, and it helped. One of the things that brought me so much joy was kickboxing – talk about therapeutic, people! Kickboxing at least three times a week helped my mood shift so much, and it was a start to seeing me again. I am so blessed with friends who would come over at, literally, any time of the day. Spending time with them helped me more than they could ever know. We did anything from just hanging out in my living room to splurging on a fun dinner. Through everything that I was doing daily, I was learning how to rely on myself. Looking back now, I have never really had to know what it felt like to rely mainly on myself. I did get so much help from my family and friends, but what good could their help do if I didn't want to help myself first?

Even though I felt like this was one of the worst years of my life, it taught me so much more than I ever expected. Looking back now, I grew so, so much. I learned how to smile when times get tough. I learned that it really is okay to not be okay sometimes, and it will be okay eventually. I learned that it's okay to ask for help because we weren't made to do life alone. Most importantly, I learned how to trust myself. My hope for anyone reading this, you will learn from my experience that the worst seasons get better. I am in such a good place right now because I never gave up, and I will continue to never give up. In a short amount of time, I am seeing how far I have come and how much I grew.

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