21 Things No One Ever Tells You About Turning 21

Your 21st is like the New Year’s Eve of birthdays. Yes, it’s awesome. But it’s also built up to be the biggest, most monumental day of your adult life—one that unlocks the door to legal margarita consumption and the drug store wine aisle (which, zero shame, is the greatest).
21st birthday in college
As a recent inductee into the 21 and older club, I’m here to clue to in on some of the best (and weirdest) things that no one ever tells you about turning the big 2-1:
1. You will still feel like you’re about to get in trouble the moment you take a sip of your watered-down whiskey sour.
2. I don’t care if this fear stems from the wrath of the police, your mom, or the watchful eye of that judge-y girl on your floor freshman year, you will still feel like you’re doing something forbidden.
3. Your first legal alcohol purchase is more likely to be a double bottle of Barefoot than Patron. Even though you’re officially an adult, you’re still on a college student’s budget.
birthday 21
4. The affordability of your first purchase won’t have any impact on how excited you will be. No smile is too big or too embarrassing to commemorate this moment.
5. All of your parents’ friends will make jokes about how you experienced your first sip of alcohol on your 21st birthday. Every. Single. One. Bonus points if they follow up with a knowing wink.
21 party
6. You will get mad when you inevitably don’t get carded. Even if you did forget to take your makeup off last night and you’re rocking the mom jeans (high-waisted is in, okay?) there’s no way you possibly could look that old.
7. You’ll spend hours trying to figure out exactly why you never get carded anymore. Is it your newfound confidence? Your worldly and mature vibes? Or maybe it’s just the fact that you no longer begin to stutter when you order wine at dinner with your parents.
fake id
8. You’re legally old enough to adopt a child. Scary thought, considering you can’t even manage to keep a plant alive and your mom still cleans up after your dog.
9. Your still 20-year-old friends will give you the stink eye every time you talk about that new bar you’ve been meaning to try or your plans to pick up a bottle of wine later on. Take pity on them and remember that you were in their shoes just few short days ago.
10. The hangovers get worse the moment the clock strikes midnight.
hangover funny
11. Old age is rough.
12. On that note, you will no longer be immune to the dangers of 2 AM cheap tequila shots. You’ll either be asleep by then or curled up with a glass of wine and your main man Netflix.
liz lemon drinking
13. Your parents will ask you to pick up wine for them on your way home.
14. This will be fun and exciting the first couple times you are assigned this task. Then it will just be one more errand for you to run when the novelty of brandishing your diver’s license wears off.
21
15. You will have to learn how to effectively divide your time between stalking food and drink menus when deciding where to go to dinner.
16. Real people drinks are fabulous. The grown-ups have been holding out on us all this time with their fancy cosmos and delicious exotic-flavored mojitos.
real drinks
17. You will have zero desire to order a drink at every meal just because you can. My Diet Coke obsession has actually gotten worse now that the options have expanded.
18. You will be so much happier if you actually remember your 21st birthday. At the risk of sounding like a mom, take it slow and actually enjoy your legally procured booze. And if I was really gonna play the mom card, I’d throw in a reference about that after school special movie about kids trying to take 21 shots on their 21st birthday.
21st birthday
19. This is terrifying, but 25 or even 30 won’t seem that old to you anymore.
20. But those 18-year-old freshman with terrible fake IDs who can’t remember what state they’re supposedly from? Those are babies.
21. It doesn’t matter if your 21st birthday is a huge blowout or just a quiet dinner with some of your closest friends—it will still be one for the books.
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