The Worst Thing About Turning 21


It was the day I had been dreaming about since I was a little girl. I was all dolled up and ready for the next stage of my life. All of my friends were there to celebrate with me. I was the first of my friends, so it made it all the more exciting. I was turning 21. The only night where you are not judged when you get incoherently wasted and kiss everyone with a face. It was my fucking 21st birthday, biiiiitcheeeeees.

The clock struck midnight and instead of turning into a pumpkin, I turned into a woman (I did temporarily lose a shoe though). My chariot, my best friend’s Honda CR-V, awaited me and my small posse of legal ladies. My little waved excitedly and promised she’d find me at our usual spot, the only bar that would accept our shitty fake IDs.

I teetered around each bar, checking off all the items on the posterboard hanging around my neck while my big, G-big, and GG-big kept a close eye on me. Hit on a guy in a fake accent, check. Body shots, check. Request JBiebs at every bar, check. Get 21 dollar bills, check. Get 21 kisses, double check. I was the queen of the world. I felt the sea of people when I strutted through, but in reality they probably were clearing the way for the Hot Mess Express. I found my little at the usual spot, and after I superfluously apologized to my favorite bouncers for lying to them up until now, we danced the night away. At the end of the night, Uber delivered me home to my roommates, awaiting with open arms and open water bottles. I curled up in a ball, high off of the blurry memories of the night, and I couldn’t wait to do it again.

The next morning I was eager to rally, but I was met with an adversity that I hadn’t thought of before. I was the only one who turned 21. I was suddenly handed the key to the world that my friends were banished from. For a moment, they become burdens to me. How was I going to be able to go out with them when I had a whole realm of possibilities waiting for me where the older things are. Was I this frustrating to go out with not 24 hours prior? How was I so oblivious to the hardship I was causing my friends who were of age?

I had a whole hungover day to think about my moral dilemma. Do I stay back with my young friends or do I spread my wings and fly? They would be joining me in a few months, but those are long months. My heart tore in half thinking of all of the beautiful older men I could make prolonged eye contact with at the strict, exclusive bars. I couldn’t think of a bad night out with my best friends, but I had the best night ever when I went to these new places. I had been asked to sit with the cool kids and leave my band geek roots behinds. If I were in their shoes, which thank the lord I was not, I would be happy to live vicariously through her snapstory, while a part of me would feel like I suffered a loss. We were no longer equals, but they were still my best friends. They didn’t change just like I didn’t change. But something about me did feel different.

After pondering and puking for hours, I chose my friends. I am still anxiously awaiting the day that my little will retire her South Carolina fake and trade it in for her own bonafide big girl ID, but in the end, a shitty night out with your best friends beats the best night out with shitty friends.

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Ali Hin

A born and raised Jersey girl, she can always be found covered in sand and pizza sauce. Her personal brand is "that girl." She prefers wine in bottles because she thinks outside of the box. Send fan mail to or by smoke signal.

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