Ah, 21. While turning 16 meant getting your permit and turning 18 meant no longer needing parental approval, your 21st birthday is inarguably the biggest milestone in your young adult life.
There's no more need to push your way to the front of the keg line at frat parties, or somberly hand the drink menu back to the waiter while requesting a measly soft drink.
Turning "twenty-fun" will have massive implications on your lifestyle, responsibilities, and bank account, and it's highly likely that you'll experience the following:
1. Actually wanting to get carded. Nothing beats the satisfaction of that "damn straight I'm 21" moment when you smugly hand your license over to the liquor store cashier. For a moment, they doubted your legitimacy, but you proved them wrong with the quick exchange of identification.
Plus, if you don't get ID'd, that might mean you give off extreme mom or dad vibes. ID me all you want, peasants!
2. Getting denied from bars because bouncers are paranoid. One time I actually had to pull out my passport at a restaurant because the waitress simply did not believe my New York license was legit. In her defense, I go to school in Pennsylvania, and the format of New York IDs is a stark contrast to that of most other states.
But let's just say being accused of trying to sneakily order drinks "underage" is not fun, especially when bouncers and waiters start bending the heck out of your 100 percent legit, $80 license. You break it, you buy it, Mr. Bouncer.
3. Being able to discuss alcohol with your parents. The first time I went to a liquor store, I was overwhelmed by the 400 types of wine standing before me. All I had ever known before this milestone birthday was Barefoot Pink Moscato, and suddenly there were racks of Australian wine, Italian wine, sparkling wine, dessert wine, dry wine... you name it.
After doing about 50 laps around the store, I broke down and called my mom and asked for input. Gone are the days of unwarranted parental lectures about alcohol.
4. Wanting to buy everything, just because you can. All the wine. You might only have $11 in your bank account, but that isn't stopping you from lustfully eyeing a bottle of Hennessy. You've heard about it enough in all the songs on your party playlist, and now it's before you, in the flesh (or bottle, rather). You're sure you'll hate cognac, but you'll definitely love feeling boujee when you set it on your kitchen counter for all to admire.
Also, you're probably going to be tempted to get a drink whenever you go out to eat. After realizing your check doubles in price after adding one specialty margarita to your tab, however, you'll probably want to start saving the drinks for happy hour. Cheap drinks = happiness.
5. Wondering when your mid-20s crisis is going to begin. Because there's really nothing much to look forward to about turning 22, or 23... basically any other birthday after the big 2-1. Soon enough, you'll be graduating from college, and then what?
Hey, at least you're now legal and can sip a glass of wine to calm your nerves, right?
6. Joining the older bar crowd. Suddenly, instead of just going to house parties flooded with freshmen and classmates whose flirting you'd rather not pretend to enjoy, you're with a semi-mature crowd. Finally, you can meet guys and girls that aren't the same people sitting in your lecture hall every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Even if drinking isn't quite your thing, going to bars is still a great way to meet new people in a different setting than you're used to.
If you've recently turned 21, take advantage of all the doors that are now, quite literally, opened to you. Embrace your new legal privileges and have as much fun as you can, but always remember to be responsible.
Sorry, but I couldn't leave you without at least one unwarranted lecture about alcohol, could I?
Now go, and drink up!