Thoughts x
21

The expectations are far, far away from reality.

A birthday is always an exciting moment to celebrate growing up and coming into your own. In America, however, there is one age in particular that seems to be the most exciting age of all. You guessed it. To reach the huge milestone of 21 is definitely worthy of celebration. Recently, I turned 21, which is also known as the biggest and grandest year of one’s life…

If you are anything like me, you will have come to realize how much of a false statement that actually is.

I have been 21 years old for less than three weeks, and I already regret the immense amount of time spent anticipating the minute I would become old enough to truly be recognized as a responsible adult. My favorite words were, “I can’t wait to turn 21.” Now I cannot remember why I was in such a rush to get older.

Here are the five main reasons why being 21 is overrated:

1. It is expensive.

Any birthday party is going to reel in some cash from your bank account; however, turning 21 means there will most likely be alcohol somewhere in the vicinity. This will make the extravaganza 10 times pricier on top of decorations, entertainment and food. The headache of estimating how much you are spending will be both a blessing and a curse if you would like to avoid going over budget.

But even if hosting a party is not your cup of tea, chances are you will still be drinking somewhere else.

Depending on your taste, alcohol can seem affordable at first. What no one pays attention to is the slow accumulation of alcohol expenses over time, especially if you are someone who enjoys going out to party every single weekend. Whether you are at a bar or a club, the price of alcohol will weigh down your pockets eventually. It is definitely up to you to decide if it’s worth it.

2. It is exhausting.

The minute someone turns 21 it is as if everyone expects them to party nonstop. While some of my friends definitely did exercise their full right to legally drink and get into bars, I did not. The pressure of such expectations, however, lingered.

One popular activity many people enjoy to celebrate turning 21 is bar-hopping where people will have some drinks at one bar and then the next. It can be a lot of fun until exhaustion hits and not only are you tired, but you are intoxicated from the combination of drinks at each establishment.

I know a few people who are comfortable going out for drinks every weekend without dealing with such repercussions, but I am not one of them. Not to mention the whole routine can get quite old after a bit.

Another exasperating component of being 21 is how many people who will now look to you to purchase them alcohol since they are underaged, which is never a good thing. I never thought about the responsibility that accompanies turning 21, but I came to understand acknowledging that is a part of growing up.

3. It is the age your parents will worry about you the most.

Everyone knows how neurotic a parent can get once their child goes away to college or begin to live on their own. Those worrisome tendencies merely increase the moment one turns 21 because believe it or not, your parents have stood exactly where you are. They, too, know exactly what it means to go out and have a little too much fun chugging shot after shot.

My mother is always worried because I attend school far away from home, and my birthday simply provided one more reason for her not to sleep at night. She would call time and time again just to see if I had made it back to my apartment in one piece.

If you thought this would be the year that your parents would finally ease up on the check-in phone calls and texts, then you were wrong. If anything, the older you get will provide more of an excuse for your parents to excessively worry about you and how often you are taking care of yourself.

4. It is repetitive.

I mentioned early on how tedious going out can become. It can be a lot of fun to de-stress from school, work or both; however, my friends loved to go out constantly. Although we would try out tons of new places for the fun of it, I was not having fun the more often we went out.

No matter what bar or club you are going to, there will always be similarities. The music will be the same after a while and so will the fruity-like drinks. The only difference will be the people you meet, which is always a bonus.

The best way to make the most of a good night out is to switch things up. There are certainly many ways to have fun without indulging in a beer or cocktail. What matters most is the company you keep around you.

5. It is literally the same as the day before.

Before my birthday, my friends and I would continuously joke about how much fun we were going to have once we were able to get into all the latest trendy bars and nightlife lounges. What we did not know was that it would be no different from the day before.

The only difference now is that I can legally purchase and consume alcohol, which can easily be a negative aspect unless most of your friends are already legally allowed to drink. Having the same routine can get old relatively quickly, and the burnout from all of the previous night’s festivities can be overwhelming.

Whether you are turning 21 soon or already 21, the most important thing to consider is moderation. It is so easy to celebrate and forget about all the downsides of consuming alcohol. Finding a balance is the best solution to enjoying being a now legal, young adult.

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