Catch 21

I was born on a mizzly Thursday evening in February, inconveniently just after dinner time in 1996. I’ll save you the maths and point out that I’m about to turn twenty-one in just under a month… (ps, it’s in the heading anyway.)

The big two-one is more of an American concept I know, and it doesn’t make much of a difference to what I have been legally allowed to do for 3 years already. If I lived in the US I’d be getting excited for my first legal drink and having a huge party. But here in sunny Northern Ireland I’ve been cracking bevs’ in the local pubs and clubs from the liver-hardened age of 17, however (slightly?) illegal that may be, it’s widely accepted that that’s the general age you start venturing out in the U.K. Many hard-core partiers start out even younger than I did. (Picture an embryo not yet left the womb, gripping a 3 litre bottle of Frosty Jacks. Yeah.)

Now don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait for cake and cocktails and cake and some 21 themed gifts and cake and cocktails and cake, but it also feels as though I’m firmly being planted into adulthood butt-first. Which, lets be honest, is actually absolutely and thoroughly terrifying and I’ve really been able to avoid it for far too long. I’m lucky to have a family who wouldn’t ever see me stuck or broke or confused, and although I may actually still be confused about 65% of the things I encounter on a day to day basis, that’s just my personality. (Especially if I’m hungover.) Now that I’m about to turn Twenty One do I have to seem adult-ier?

Graduation is in June, and whether I go on to do more studying or get a real-person, big, grown-up job remains to be seen. Besides the fact that my whole family still have a hard time reminding themselves that I’m no longer 16, I actually don’t feel as though I’m enough of an adult yet to grab a hold of a career. So, what age are you meant to feel adult-y?

If anyone has an actual date-in-time where they felt it please feel free to share with the rest of us, because I get the sense that many 20-going-on-21-year-olds feel the same as I do. If you’re lucky enough not to know what feeling I’m talking about here; imagine getting on a bus and the whole timetable is in Ancient Greek, you’re naked as a baby, there’s only one seat left beside a scary looking guy who carries a briefcase and actually uses it for stuff. That’s adulthood. Well I mean, you don’t HAVE to be naked, but I think it adds a certain level of humiliation to the Inbetweener-esque scenario (who aren’t always totally unrelatable.)

The truth is, no one really knows what they’re meant to be doing at this age. I hope in 10 years I am really happy with where I am and what I’m doing, but for now I fully intend to drink as many overpriced and unnecessarily fancy cocktails as humanly possible, along with huge onslaughts of gin and delicious food detrimental to any sort of diet. Later, I’ll see the world and what it has to offer me as someone in their “Early Twenties”… since apparently that’s what I am now. Maybe adulting won’t be so bad after all.

Freaking scary though all the same.

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