Turning 21 is a rite of passage for Americans since it's the age when it's finally legal to drink alcohol. It's the last milestone of "official" adulthood, with the right to vote set at 18, the right to marry varying by state, and the right to drive extended to kids as young as 16.
Getting stone-drunk on your birthday may sound like fun in theory, but it may make memories of the evening hazy later on. So here are some ideas to bring in your big 21 like a mature adult.
Travel Someplace New
Make your 21st year the year of globe-trotting. You don't need a big budget to travel. Ditch the lavish hotels, and go for small, inexpensive ones, or even check out hostels. You can also connect with friends abroad and stay with people you know. That way, you get to experience the local flavors and a great cultural experience.
Even if your budget doesn't allow for overseas travel, try to find a way to get out of your comfort zone for a while, to meet new people and experience new things.
Visit Your Childhood Home
If you have relocated since your childhood, visit the place you were born. Meet old neighbors, family friends, and people you once knew. Perhaps they have pictures or stories to share with you. When you revisit your place of birth, you realize what a long way you've come.
Of course, if it's not possible to make the visit, or if childhood memories of your birthplace aren't happy ones, you can take some time to reconnect with old acquaintances and family you haven't seen or spoken to in a while. Birthdays are a good time to look back on all you've achieved.
Donate to Charity
How about giving away all the stuff that you have grown out of? Find a charity organization that will be happy to collect your old belongings. There is a certain joy in giving. You will cherish this memory forever.
If you plan to go out partying with friends, make sure to have someone sober to drive you home safely or that you have a smartphone to contact a taxi or a ride-share service. No driving after you've been drinking alcohol.
Reflect on Your Milestones and Plan Ahead
As you grow older, you are also supposed to grow wiser. Your 21st birthday is the perfect occasion to plan your future. Look back at the milestones you achieved and ponder about your life ahead: What do you want to do over the next year? How do you plan to improve your life? What are the mistakes you never want to repeat?
Quotes About Getting Older
And finally, here are a few quotes that may give you inspiration for your 21st birthday:
The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life. - Muhammad Ali
When a man is tired of life on his 21st birthday it indicates that he is rather tired of something in himself. - F. Scott Fitzgerald
At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment. - Benjamin Franklin
Live as long as you may. The first twenty years are the longest half of your life. - Robert Southey
Nature gives you the face you have at twenty, but it's up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. - Coco Chanel
How swift have flown
To me thy girlish times,
A woman grown beneath
My heedless eyes!
In vain I rack
My fancy to believe
That speaks thee twenty-one.
- Charles Lamb