Congrats! You've finally reached 21!
You've made it through all your friends twenty-firsts that you couldn't attend because you weren't "allowed to drink" (pff, okay) or go out to celebrate at the bars with them.
Now it's your turn to soak in the 21-ness.
You spend your birthday night out at every bar you can fit in to the few hours before you eventually pass out, and continue the celebrations for, ehh, about the next week.
That's when you start to realize a few things about this 21st year-of-passage...
1. Bars are just more expensive frat parties
What you once thought was the high-end of the college scene has now just turned into the lesser of the evils.
Gone are the delusions of classy drinks and intimate chats with the cute guy who bought you said classy drink, only to be replaced by the intimacy of the sweaty shirt in front of you and the groping hands behind you.
It feels sort of like finding out that Santa isn't real, or slowly coming to terms with the fact that fairytales don't exist. Turning 21 is a new level of your sadly tainted glass shattering.
2. Nobody actually cares that you're 21
Ah, all the waiting and nervous glances at the bouncer judging your very fake fake-ID are finally over! You can now stare into their faces boldly, even flirt if you want to, because you are in. You are 21 and you deserve this.
You prove yourself for a week at every bar you can, get all the free margaritas and champagne bottles, and then it happens. It slaps you in the face almost as hard as the rejections you got when using your fake.
You wait in line for a bar, surrounded by all your friends, and when you confidently whip your wallet out as you reach the bouncer, he nods. That's it. He nods and waves his hand, granting you entrance to the bar you once thought so exclusive.
That's when you realize, he couldn't give a lesser shit if you're 21 or not. You could be nineteen for all he knows.
Just go in and drink your drink and try not to throw up on your way out.
3. Sometimes you’ll still get nervous showing your ID
There’s always that illogical moment of panic when someone asks to see your ID and you think, “oh shit, wait, am I 21 yet? What if they think it’s fake?”
Strangely enough, this doesn’t change. But at least now you can find solace in the fact that you are 21, no matter what they think.
4. You suddenly become everyone's alcohol mule
The friends who didn't remember you when you were only 20-and-a-half blow up your phone in a strange stretch after their birthday texts.
You will have no trouble distinguishing these people from your real friends―they will make overly enthusiastic promises to meet up and constantly fall through on them.
"Oh my god, we have to do lunch sometime! By the way, are you stopping by the liquor store at any point?" These people are not your friends.
5. The relief in surpassing the label "underage drinking" isn't much of a relief
21 settles in and your first real weekend in legality involves a round of shots with all your closest friends at a pregame. You tilt your head back and let the sickening taste of Crystal Palace claw its way down your throat, and you realize: this is just like every other weekend.
Instead of feeling relieved to finally be able to drink legally, you're surprised that you were never really that concerned with illegal underage drinking to begin with.
6. You’re not the adult you thought you became when you turned 18
You turn 21, another adult milestone birthday, and you think back to your first “adult” birthday―your 18th. Were you even a real person when you turned 18?
You just graduated high school, you weren’t at all independent, and you even had to ask your parents for permission to go to after-prom. The same will happen when you turn 25.
7. Your future is no longer following a set path
All those plans you made when you were at the ripe old age of 18 are suddenly thrown out the window, and you’re thrown for a loop.
Your expectations of living in the city with your friends or college sweetheart post-grad are stifled by the depressing reality that you have no job or money.
But don’t fret―you still have the entire length of your 20’s to do all of that.
8. With great power comes great responsibility
Now that you’re 21, you get to drink alcohol. Congratulations. But here’s the side of 21 you haven’t thought of yet: you’re going to have to start adulting. Hard.
Soon you’ll be graduating college, leaving your clan of friends behind, living with your parents, and searching for a job. The upside to this is that you can legally have that now very necessary drink.[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]