Home Opinion t’s Supposed to be Fun: The Reality of Turning 21

t’s Supposed to be Fun: The Reality of Turning 21

Angled Still Life of Pink Centrepiece for Young Woman 21st Birthday Celebration on White Background

by Devon Mitchell

         I was once told if you remember your 21st birthday you did something wrong. That is the idea of what a 21st birthday should be like- copious amounts of drinking, partying, and forgetting all about it the next day. As someone who just turned twenty-one, I’m here to tell you that is not the reality.

         About a year ago I realized I would be turning twenty-one while I’m in DC. I was like, cool, I’m definitely going to be able to go out to the DC bars and have a great time! In a turn of events, Pres Ball was scheduled the day before my birthday, so I made a change of plans which included driving four hours either way, meaning copious amounts of drinking was out of the question. Instead of going out to a club or a bar to get that first legal drink, I was in the Cregger Center, not getting drinks because they wouldn’t give me a green wristband indicating I was of legal drinking age. But I was back in the place I love with the people I love, and the next day I got to prove my age by ordering a legal drink (Well Hung in Roanoke has great wine slushies).

Since my birthday I have been navigating all these new liberties I have. One reality I didn’t realize until recently is that you HAVE to get your license renewed. Of course, I knew that was important, but I didn’t realize how seriously people took it. The bouncer at a piano bar sternly warned me that they wouldn’t be nice and let me in next time with an expired license. But unfortunately, my new license can only come as fast as the New Hampshire DMV allows so we’ll see if this bouncer will stay true to his word next time I go. 

It’s a stretch to liken my experience to Taylor Swift’s in “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)” when she says “It’s supposed to be fun turning twenty-one.” I had a great time, but it wasn’t what I expected. So for all you youngin’s out there waiting to turn twenty-one, let me give you some unsolicited advice. Have zero expectations going into your birthday, and renew your license the first chance you get.