21 does not taste much different

Erica Weisburn

Remember, remember the 6th and 7th of September.

Wednesday and Thursday marked my friend, Meghan Neel’s, and my 21st birthdays. This slogan graced our co-birthday party invitations.

I’ve been planning and anticipating this milestone since my 16th birthday. The beer, the bars, the 24-hour power hours – I expected a day-long extravaganza. But, when I woke up yesterday morning, nothing had changed.

I went to my classes. I met with a professor who told me I received a “C” on my first assignment of the year. I ate lunch with my friends. I spent $100 at the DMV renewing my license. I even contemplated doing some laundry, but my laziness prevented that task.

At midnight I savored my first sip of legality. I walked into a local beer emporium, and I thought I’d found the motherland. It was 11:45 p.m., and I was confident. The cashier examined my driver’s license, and commented that I officially had to wait 15 minutes. But, he kindly let it slide. We walked out of the establishment with what felt like 50 pounds of alcohol – surely enough to satisfy this lightweight. It was expensive, and it didn’t magically taste any different.

I took my six-pack of Honey Brown back to what I assumed would be party central. Instead, we all just sat around, played the same drinking games and talked about school and ignorant freshmen. Nothing new.

Don’t get me wrong, it was an exciting purchase. Then I came home, and after two drinks, I started writing this column.

Last night, I painted the town red, so to speak. I braved the busy streets of downtown Kent on a typical Thirsty Thursday evening. I entered every bar I possibly could and bought at least one drink in each. But, my intoxication only led to self-conscious pouting for fear of embarrassment. It’s a lot different getting drunk in a bar filled with strangers than in the comfort of home playing Kings with your friends.

Tonight I will co-throw the biggest party I’ve ever had. There will be drinking, dancing and a princess-themed cake. I’m expecting to reconnect with some of my friends from high school. I’m thrilled that so many have decided to celebrate my birthday with me. Tomorrow morning, however, I have to get my laundry done.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that turning 21 isn’t worth all the hype. It’s really no different than any other birthday. My parents left cheesy messages on my cell phone. I received several Facebook wall posts, which of course the “news feed” told me most about. An ex bought me roses. All pretty typical birthday events.

If you’re an average college student, being able to legally drink doesn’t drastically change your lifestyle. The only real differences are: youngsters can use you for your horizontal driver’s license, you can hang out in Kent area bars with your friends and your wallet seems lighter than usual.

The most I’ve gained from this birthday is a better sense of maturity. I’m legal in every way. From now on, the only perks I really have to look forward to are senior citizen discounts and early bird specials. Ponderosa, here I come!!!

Erica Weisburn is a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].