I turned 21 on the 26th of March. It was a day I had been counting down to since last year. I became close with a lot of seniors and was sad whenever they left my under aged self to go out. I started drinking before than though.
My first drink came late in my junior year of high school. Even then I don’t think I ever knew what drunk was until I came here.
I went through the usual freshman phases. The plastic bottles of Zelco Vodka drank from shots or a horrible mixer choice from the vending machines, the swigs of mystery drink handed to me bysenior boys who in hindsight probably had questionable motives, and the plastic cups of jungle juice which were always a-plenty at my intramural soccer team’s parties. Our Winslow triple always had ants stumbling around, drunk from the alcohol spills on our counter.
I don’t drink like that anymore. I went to New Zealand and developed a taste for beer, wine, and sitting around drinking it. I don’t drink like freshman year anymore, except for the night I went out for my 21st birthday.
I hit the Green Turtle with a few friends. The shots kept coming. I am pretty sure that I didn’t get one kind of alcohol twice. Peppermint schnapps was the worst.
When the lights turned on and the bar closed, my friends and I stumbled home. Everyone was a wreck. I passed out on my neighbor’s couch, because I couldn’t even get the three doors down the hall to my own bed. The next day I was still a mess. I tried to eat chicken noodle soup, but couldn’t even lift the spoon. Any mention of the previous night’s beverage choices made me want to throw up. I was hung-over for two and a half days.
We wait our entire college careers, for some people longer, to be 21. When it finally comes, after all the shots of celebration and the stumbling around of that first night, drinking isn’t a big deal. Suddenly this exciting, thrilling experience becomes just a shrug of the shoulder. Since my first legal night I am so content ordering a beer at dinner, and pulling out my ID like it is nothing.
I guess that is what we are looking for, to be a part of the club. To go to a restaurant, order a drink, and have no one question you. Especially having gone abroad, we have already been through the cheap shots, the plastic bottles of liquor, the oversized cans of Four Loco. Turning 21 is not the beginning of our drinking experience. It is the beginning of being an adult, of being expected to be responsible, and of trying to meet that expectation, because we have already been through the stumbles that come from drinking, literally and metaphorically. We come out the other side ready to sip a glass of wine on a patio on a nice day. There is no need to binge because there is no question as to when you will be able drink again. You are 21.
We always want things we can’t have, and here, at 21, we finally have what we always wanted. In this situation the grass is only greener on one side. Once you go 21, you never go back, and thank god, because those days sure made my head hurt.