There are several key birthday milestones that you count down to growing up. Your 10th birthday, for sure. I mean, double digits! You remember getting so excited to be double digits without really realizing that there’s a good chance you will never leave the double digit range … think about that for a second. What was so great about 10 anyways? That’s a whole extra candle your parents had to buy for the cake. 10 is selfish is what it is.
Plus then you’re on the verge of the pre-teen years which are fun for absolutely nobody. Not your parents. Not your friends. Not you. Not your teachers. Nobody. It’s a phase that is frustrating, stressful, and confusing. And that’s all before you hit the joy of puberty. Which is also frustrating, stressful, and confusing. But also scary and sad and exciting and you realize you’re nearing the next milestone which is the sweet sixteen. Ironically, the only sweet thing about being 16 is the ability to drive. Which is expensive so once again who’s really winning here?
Then there’s 18 and you’re finally an adult! Again, though, not as exciting as we hype ourselves up for. You can buy cigarettes so I guess it’s a good way to learn about consequences. Although you only partially get treated like an adult. You get to go to college, which IS an awesome milestone. Even there though, it’s not quite the same as the monotonous, expensive, and exhausting world that is post-college.
Among the birthday milestones that we trick ourselves into getting pumped about, the 21st one is the best day of your life. No more worrying about getting caught with a fake, or having to bribe your older friends into getting you some bottles, or swiping extra liquor from the very back of your parent’s cabinet hoping they don’t use those. You can waltz into the grocery store. The liquor store. The gas station. The club. The bar. Wherever and slap that ID card down and get whatever your little heart desires.
While being an alcohol drinking adult has its perks, like most good things, there are downfalls. That downfall is being asked to show your ID. Don’t get me wrong, that first day you reach purchasing freedom, you want to brag about it! You want everywhere you go to ask for that card so you can whip it out. Then wait awkwardly for them to have to triple check the date to make sure it’s the very minimum legal age. A powerful feeling.
During the post-turning-21-hangover, having to pull your ID out of your wallet every time becomes … annoying. Especially as you start to age towards your mid and late 20s. How young do you have to look to be closer to 30 than 21 and be asked to prove yourself. There’s always the one friend who will get carded, even when nobody else in the entire group does. I am that friend. I could go out with my parents, and only I will get carded. Not even my younger, not even 21 year old, sister gets carded. She just gets drinks. But I’m the one who looks underage. Ok.
If everyone in the group gets asked to prove their age, that’s one thing. The server is just protecting their job. And probably the whole establishment. But to single one person out, what is the purpose of even asking? Why waste both of our time? What was the thinking going into this? If one of them is at least 21, all of them must be 21? How does that work? Some of my friends have even decided to take No Shave November all the way through the pandemic and look like they belong in a frat house. And still I’m the only one who gets carded.
Clearly I’m unbothered by my young face. If I still look like a high schooler maybe I’ll look like a 20-something in my late 40s so there are perks. Eventually. So they tell me. Once you hit 21 you get a few consecutive solid exciting birthdays, though. Taylor Swift year, Jordan year, Kobe year, rent a car year. And then you’re in your late 20s and it becomes less exciting from there. You have to wait for 30 and by that point the over the hill jokes are coming out. So you’re excited on the outside, but sad on the inside.
Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!
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