What The Year Before You Turn 21 Feels Like
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Politics and Activism

What The Year Before You Turn 21 Feels Like

Because no great story has started with someone eating a salad.

What The Year Before You Turn 21 Feels Like


The year you stop being a teenager. The year you’re finally a “grown-up.” The year that people start to ultimately treat you as a peer rather than a mere child. You’re finally excited to enter into your 20s. You are a 20-something! This is what all the quotes are made for and those feel good movies surround. You’re practically a cast member of "Friends" and you couldn’t be happier. When is it OK to start wearing crop tops with no bra and sitting in a coffee shop for days at a time?

Slowly but surely, you realize that this birthday does not bring a lot of excitement. There’s not a lot that comes with this age. You can’t drink legally, and you can’t rent a car. You’re too young to order a drink at a bar or restaurant, but too old to play in a bounce house. People will make a big deal out of this considerable day, but you know better than to get excited. You want so badly to grow up, but you are terrified of what will come when you actually do. Maybe alcohol will help, but you won’t know for sure for another year. You have 365 days until that fateful day when a bartender will ask for your ID and you don’t have to panic. But until that momentous day, you’ll just have to enjoy this year while it happens.

My birthday is at the end of the summer so all during the year, the rest of my friends turned 21 before me. I spent nights designated driving and picking up the bill for the cute, fun drinks I bought for them. I felt bad keeping them from going downtown because I was the only one left. They were good friends for staying home with me. I felt like I was holding them back just because my escape from a uterus was untimely. The countdown is tedious and every happy hour I would DD got harder and harder to bear. While everyone was off celebrating their big 21, I was stuck at home eating sandwiches. Normally, spending the night watching Netflix and eating sounds like the most perfect night. But since that was a choice I didn’t have the power over, it just kind of sucks.

Everyone is having a drink, a baby, or a wedding and you’re just here sipping on virgin cranberry cocktails and buying presents for everyone else’s big moments. The year seems to drag on forever until the week before and you’re making plans for your big celebration. There are invitations to send out, reservations to be made and outfits to be bought. You can’t act too enthusiastic in order to seem like this will be just another day and alcohol isn’t a big part of your new life. You have all these plans that sneak up on you because you didn’t want to get too eager. You get overwhelmed with all the opportunities that you’ll have. You get to finally play with the big kids, and you couldn’t be more stoked. Then you realize how expensive alcohol is.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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