… in addition to legally procuring alcohol.
In honor of RetroVixen turning the big 2-1, we present a list of 21 things to do when you’re 21. They don’t speak directly to RetroVixen, who is wise beyond her years, but to those in her situation.
Part 1 – Prepare Yourself
1. Register to Vote
Seems odd that at 18, you can vote in elections but you need 3 additional years to develop a respect for alcohol. So if you didn’t register by 18, now is the time to do so. You could get away with not giving a damn at 18, but now that you can legally buy alcohol, guns and tobacco, you should be part of the debate on them. The least you could do is register to vote.
2. Open a retirement account
You may not be earning much right now, or nothing at all, but if you start early enough, even small monthly deposits start to add up.
3. Check up on the kids that used to bully you in middle school
What are they doing now? Did they graduate from high school? Did one of them become a seminarian? I’m not saying you should gloat if things went badly for them or be peeved if they’ve got a cushy job at Google, but it would help you put things in perspective and move on. Maybe you’ll become friends. Maybe you’ll finally stop waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night with visions of some wanker peeing on your science project. It’s time to let go of that childhood baggage.
4. Program the number of your favorite smoke-free taxi cab company into your cell phone
You’re too old to wake up Mom or Dad at 3am so they can come pick up your drunk ass. There will be times when all of your friends will start drinking before someone has volunteered to be the designated driver. It happens. The cab should be smoke-free because the smell of cigars or cigarettes on the faux-leather back seat of a cab tends to lead to projectile vomiting.
5. Prepare yourself for the day you find your mother staring back at you from the mirror
Not just from the mirror, either. You’re going to start sounding like her and rationalizing like her. You’re even going to start throwing her own words back at her, if you haven’t already. It’s scary when the moment of realization comes. Don’t fight it. It’s okay. You are still your own individual self. Your mother is just a HUGE part of what makes you who you are.
6. Be prepared to be the adult in conversations with your parents
Parents can sometimes have totally irrational fears or concerns about their adult children. It’s like you just turned 13 again and they can’t seem to handle you living on your own, earning your own money, having relationships that they’re completely unaware of. When you were 18-20, you were still their little one, even though you were legally adult. You were a fledgling adult. But at 21, you’ve got a bit of a handle on adulthood – a bit. So they think this little knowledge is dangerous and will lead you down the rabbit hole. Just grin and bear the hysteria and screams of “You think you know everything but you don’t know nothin’!” It soon will pass and morph into questions like “When are you going to get married and make us grandparents?”
7. Cancel the Disney Channel
I feel bad singling out one channel for a generation’s worth of problems but this channel is one of the main guilty parties in perpetuating people’s erroneous expectations about the future and what is expected of them. In real life, the bad guys don’t always get their comeuppance, the good girl doesn’t always get noticed by the hot emo-haired, misunderstood bad-boy, that same emo-haired, misunderstood bad-boy doesn’t always have extra layers (like a Princeton education and a love for Jane Austen), problems don’t resolve themselves at the end of the day, and relationships are harder to maintain than they were to forge in the first place. I always wanted to catch up with Belle and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast to see how they got on once Belle got tired of picking up after the Beast and his smelly ass (especially when he’d forget to use matches in the loo).