21 things to do now that you’re 21

27 Jun

This is the final part of three discussing things you should do now that you can legally buy alcohol. Part 1 | Part 2

Part 3: Now is the time

15. Don’t put off that big trip

Everyone has that dream trip they want to take to some special place or to across a country, continent or the globe. Don’t put off that trip. Take it now. Beg and borrow the money if you don’t have it. Why? You have no idea where your life will take you in the next five years. In a year, you could be married. In two years, you could be a mother. In five years you could be in middle management with ambitions for senior management in a firm. In seven years you could be a mother of three, or you could be in grad school perpetually fighting with your dissertation supervisor and with a growing mountain of school loans. You will never have a better opportunity than you do now to take that trip. Once you start working full-time, you will have limited vacation days and you will be expected to show ambition and commitment at work.

16. Pass on some wisdom

Whether it be a younger sibling, cousin, or a neighborhood kid, you are in the ideal position to give advice about adolescence and getting through those confusing teenage years. It’s all fresh in your mind and since you’re not too much older, the kids will listen to you as opposed to someone much older. Plus, it’s a great way to find out whether or not you want to be a parent.

17. Figure out if your childhood sweetheart is a keeper

Now this advice goes to a very select and lucky group of individuals. Some of you may have found the love of your life at a very young age and there’s no reason to question where you’re headed and what to do. Yet, there are others who are stuck in a rut, thinking that this is as good as it gets and that they’re comfortable so what’s the point in making a change. The point is that finding out what else is out there is an important part of appreciating what you’ve got. Maybe dating other people will have you running back to each other so fast, you’ll time travel. Or maybe, you’ll realize that you don’t have the same goals anymore and that what was perfect in high school and college isn’t perfect anymore.

18. Stop lying

Especially to yourself. People lie … a lot. When I was younger, I lied because the truth wasn’t as interesting as the tales I would tell. I once told a woman I was Sidney Poitier’s fourth cousin. Another time I claimed I had three nipples. Okay, that’s a lie right there, but you get my point. Sometimes, I would forget I was lying and start to believe my own bullshit. Truth is everyone thinks they’re a boring sod and people tend to get annoyed with other people who brag about how awesome they are. They tend to get really pissed off when they find out that that awesome life is a total sham. Well, just before they start snickering and feeling really superior. So do yourself a favor and save some energy by not lying … or at least keeping it to a minimum. Telling your best friend that the top she bought isn’t really her style instead of the truth that it makes her look flat-chested is okay in my book.

19. Earn it!

Respect is not given, it is earned. When you turn 21, you don’t get a big tattoo on your forehead that says you’re 21, and if you did, I bet you’re regretting it right now. If you’re lucky, you’ll still look 18. So you’ll be treated by most older people (as was my experience) like you’re incompetent or not trustworthy with things of great importance. So you’ve got to work much harder than others to prove that you can deal with stuff.

20. Own it!

You’ve f**ked up. You’re in deep doo doo. All you want to do right now is call your mother and ask her if you can crawl back into her womb. Okay, maybe it’s not that big of a cock up, but you’re feeling pretty disgusted with yourself and scared of the consequences. Well, you’re 21 now. My Dad once told me that being an adult is about dealing with the unpleasant stuff, like going to work when you’re sick or breaking up with someone even if they’re nice but because you know they’re not the right one for you. He also said, being adult means confessing to your mistakes and taking responsibility. There’s no safety net for this high-wire act. No one is going to come in and take over and fix your life for you. So own up, apologize and learn from your mistakes.

21. Love it!

It’s your life. You’re completely emancipated. Do what you love, be with whom you love, but most importantly love yourself. It sounds pretty cheesy, but this life is not a dress-rehearsal. Count yourself fortunate that you made it to 21. Across the globe, thousands die before their 5th birthday and some of those that survive do it without parents or even grandparents. F**k high school. F**k college. These years are the best years of your life.


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