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Turning 21 (What Happens Now)

Updated on August 14, 2017

So You've Turned 21

So you've turned 21, congratulations! I'm sure you're ecstatic to finally be able to walk into a liquor store or bar and buy your drink of choice with no fear that you'll get in trouble or be ID'd. This is it, the big 2-1, the day you've been waiting for since turning 18 and becoming an adult, this is the last milestone into adulthood and you made it!

Now if you're like me getting to legally drink was the only thing on my mind the days leading up to my birthday. Where I was going, what I was drinking, and who I was drinking with were the only things I was worried about. But then the night came and went, and I was faced with a new set of questions.

What comes next, am I an adult now, what exactly is in a Sex on the Beach?

If your like me you turned 21 right before or during your senor year in college, and you already were feeling older then you actually were. But now, watching freshman sneak into bars after calmly handing the bouncer your ID, you feel like a dinosaur.

What Now?

When I turned 21 I was very aware that I was officially in my 20's, sure I had been 20 for a good 364 days, but now I was in my 20's. Which was a scary thought. Your 20's are when you graduate college, start your career, maybe even get married, and that was what I was facing.

That terrified me, I wasn't ready to start my career, and I definitely wasn't ready to get married, or pay off my student loans, or get my own insurance. But that's what was coming and I didn't know how to process that.

In a few months I'll be graduating and leaving the safety of the education system, facing "real life". I was no longer a kid, I turned 21, and I had a slew of responsibilities hurdling towards me, and no idea how to handle them.


Though I was beyond terrified I tried to look at things from a slightly different, less menacing perspective. I had been growing tired of school somewhere in the middle of my Junior year, and the idea of being done was definitely appealing. I have spent the last 16 years of my life sitting in a classroom, and I'm ready to see what's waiting for me after receiving my diploma.

I'm ready to put to use everything I've learned, and try to do what I actually want to do. And if I fail I fail, I know that I still have time try again.

Because I realized the 21 is not that old, it just seems like it because this was the last step to adulthood in most peoples minds. I hopefully have decades ahead of me, and I'm excited to actually start living my life. 21 seems like a stepping stone and not a wall, a place where I will launch towards my goals not be hindered by them.

I've realized that yeah drinking is fun, and sometimes you need a "cold one with the boys" after planning for your future. But I also realized that there is so many more exciting things ahead of me. I'm an adult (in training) and I'm ready to start acting like one, and experiencing life like one to.

What Your Looking Forward to Post 21

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    • Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

      Kierstin Gunsberg 10 months ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Sara, I think I had exactly 4 drinks, all on separate occasions after my 21st birthday. You're right, there's so much more to adult life than all of the "perks" (which end up being sort of a PIA anyway, right?)

      The best things I did in my 20's were having my two daughters, getting my saggy mom-butt back into college and pursuing writing as more than just hobby. And I still have a year and a half left to wrap this decade up with pride :)


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