The Process of Turning 21 Years Old

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image34281By: Brad Manock

            This past year I hit the big milestone, my 21st birthday. Turning 21 years old is a big deal where I live in Wisconsin. I am writing this half a year later but I still remember some of the factors that came up when the two forces of the socially awkward guy factor clashed with the expectations of turning 21. Living in the state of Wisconsin where the inhabitants appear to drink alcohol constantly out of necessity to survive the freezing temperatures amplifies these expectations of an individual who is turning 21. In this article I will discuss these factors that impact awkward 21 year olds specifically.

 

Plan It Out

            During the final days of being 20 years of age, I had nothing planned. Nothing special to celebrate the actual 21st birthday, I would just kind of ignore it and accelerate into the next year of my life with nothing special. However, a couple of hours before going to work on the night of my 21st birthday, I had a couple of my close friends call me up and suggest having a little party at their house. I thought “what the hell, sure” and I called in to work to tell my boss that I wasn’t coming in. This was not a big deal, I work a union job on the night shift and people call in for dumb shit or quit with no warning every single night. I told my boss that I wasn’t coming in for work tonight because it was my 21st birthday. My boss said something along the lines of “ok that’s fine but you really should have told me in advance” in a slightly frustrated tone.

 

Why Didn’t You Plan It Out?

            I didn’t take the day off in advance because I didn’t make any plans for the night of my 21st birthday until the last minute. The thought occurred to me previously to take the day off but I decided not to because of the thought that I would end up having no plans and spend the night alone in my bedroom, and that’s just sad. So I decided instead to wait and see what happened in case I could end up making plans. Another reason I decided to wait to call in at work; I was well aware that everyone at work would have been asking me about my 21st birthday expecting to hear some wild and crazy stories. If I had no plans they would have been heart-breakingly depressing stories along the lines of; I stayed home and watched movies because I only have a couple of friends and they were busy.

 

Friend Of The Family

            Whenever I hang out with my friends we usually just play video games and watch movies anyways, but it is slightly less pathetic to do that stuff with your small circle of friends. So I called in at work and I drove down to my friends’ house. By the way, pretty much all of my friends live in the same small area. My family used to have a “friend of the family,” growing up I just called him my uncle since he was around all of the time. When I was nine or ten and they told me that he was not actually related to us I felt that it was a bit creepy and weird. But now I AM that guy, I’m now the weird friend of the family for that family and my main circle of friends include two brothers who live at their mom’s house and their cousins who live next door. I sometimes show up at their family events and all of the other people who are not in my circle of friends and they look at me like “who the fuck is that guy.” I had other friends in school but I drifted away from all of them except one, and as I hung out with that one friend more I just became friends with all of the family members and that became my “circle of friends.” But that is just a long winded explanation of my rather sad social life.

            So I am driving down to my friends’ house and I have a half of a bottle of tequila since my friends are broke they never have alcohol. A half of a bottle of tequila and a jug of cranberry apple juice, this was the only type of juice I had in my refrigerator and straight alcohol would not be easy to drink. My friends have a very different taste in alcohol then I do. They like beer and vodka, I am more of a tequila person, which they can’t stand. So…since tequila is all we had in that house, more for me.

 

            So I drank most of the tequila and then we played the original Pokemon Stadium for the N64 on my friend’s laptop. Now if someone had asked me when I was 11 years old how I thought I would celebrate my 21st birthday, I probably would have hit the nail on the head. “Have a few drinks and play Pokemon Stadium with my friends” is exactly how I would have imagined my 21st birthday when I was a little kid.

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