Tori Fisher / Gavel Media

Turning 21 Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be

It’s 11:59 on January 25th and in a few moments I am about to turn 21. What am I doing? I am sitting in my lovely living room in the glorious building of Edmonds, reading for class and watching War and Peace on television---my roommate’s choice. When the clock strikes midnight my roommates bring out cupcakes and a card for me and I continue to watch War and Peace. What a time to be alive.

I was the first of my friends to turn 21 and, truthfully, it was not the raging twenty ~fun~ celebration that I know most people look forward to. Everyone wishes you a happy birthday and is excited for you, but what they don’t realize is that while there are technically no limits to what you can do, there is a limit to the people you can do things with.  The amount of times that I was asked how I was going to celebrate was uncanny. I mean, it was a TUESDAY and I had work to do. I’m not exactly a carefree second semester senior who goes to the bars Monday through Saturday. No, no. I am a high-strung junior with stuff to do.

In all fairness, I did end up going to Cityside with a few seniors that I know who wanted to buy me a drink. I honestly did have a good time. It’s actually funny how excited people that are already 21 get when they realize that it’s your 21st birthday--they want to be the first to buy you a drink and celebrate with you.

Yet, I think that we can all agree that not celebrating with all of your closest friends at a bar is not the same as celebrating only with the friends that are 21. There is something missing from the traditional 21st birthday experience when you’re not hopping between MA's and Cityside with your equally intoxicated friends and buying your first legal handle from Res with the friends you really want to celebrate with.

The 21st year is not exactly all that it is cracked up to be. Something that I think that a lot of people forget about the glory of turning 21 is the fact that it can become so damn expensive. Drinks are expensive, and let’s be honest with ourselves here, no one is going to have just one, especially during birthday celebrations. I lucked out on my first outing and my friends generously bought my drinks for me, but I don’t exactly think that I can keep up with this trend. Yes, I am girl and everyone says that by being a girl you can easily get drinks bought for you by flirting or batting your eyes or whatever. But, frankly, I don’t know if I’m that good. And I can’t exactly bat my eyes at my girl friends to buy drinks for me. If I’m being honest with myself, I should just brace myself to be poor until I graduate.

I know that there are definitely those people who are envious of my new found legality and think that any complaining is unwarranted. They have a point. I mean, it’s only January and I have the rest of the semester to enjoy the perks and privileges of being 21. Also, the fact that I was the first to turn 21 means that I will not have to miss out on any other friends’ birthday celebrations. I can be the fun friend that takes my roommates and friends to the bars and buys them drinks for their 21st birthday.

At the end of the day, I had a great birthday, not because it was my 21st birthday, but because it was a day that my friends devoted to making me happy. Not much changed since my 20th birthday, other than the sweet feeling of casually sipping on a hard cider on a Tuesday because I can.

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Nicole Strik