To Everyone Who's About To Be 21

At this very moment, my 21st birthday is 18 days, 7 hours, 47 minutes, and 35 seconds away. But who's counting? Me. I am. I'm counting. I'm counting down every second until the clock strikes midnight and I can finally stop waving goodbye to my friends as they confidently stumble down the street to the magical land of $10 cover charges and $8 shots. To everyone who has visited this land for a few months now, it probably doesn't seem so magical anymore. But no one on the brink of 21 wants to hear about the harsh realities of this age, so please let me continue to live my blissfully ignorant life, I'm sure I'll figure out the pros and cons on my own.

When I walk into a bar for the first time, I'm going to feel like a kid in a loud, very expensive candy store. If the expression on my face isn't a dead giveaway that I'm new to this scene, the panic I feel when the bartender asks me what I want to drink will make it painfully obvious that this is in fact my first rodeo. Do I want to know what beers they have on tap? I'm sure I would, if I knew a single thing about beer aside from taking videos of my friends shotgunning it. Would I like a glass of wine? I liked grapes as a kid, is that the same thing? One of my fears of reaching the big two-one is embarrassing myself in situations like these. I don't know Patrón from Cuervo and I'm not sure that a room full of strangers is the best setting to find out. Was I supposed to be studying for this? Was there an alcohol aptitude test that I missed out on during freshman orientation?

To those of you with these same questions, we both know that we're overthinking this. Everyone 21 and over had that same moment of walking up to the bar and feeling clueless. They all did their best to order the adult version of the mixed drink they've been concocting at house parties for the past 3 years, and somehow they survived. I have no doubt that all of us will make it through our 21st birthdays with just as much class and courage of conviction. Here's to all of us that are making our way towards the last birthday that anyone cares about...

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