You Have The Most Fun At 21.

The other day my mom was looking through old photographs that we had boxed away. She found one of me at twenty one. I was with my sister and my cousins at the Empire State Building in New York, We’d gone to the city to celebrate my 21st birthday.

It was such a wonderful adventure. To start, we had breakfast at a really posh restaurant, did the whole Empire State Building experience, then indulged in some of the yummiest macarons at Ladurée near Central Park.

That day has always stood out to me as one of my happiest memories from being twenty one.

Having such a good start to a year gives way to setting high expectations for the rest of it. On my flight back to Florida, I watched New York’s skyline fade away with an optimistic smile. If my birthday trip that marked the beginning of a new age in my life went so well, the rest of the year had to go just as smooth, right?

Sometimes I wish I could travel into the past just to smack myself in the head for my constant overoptimism.

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It only took a couple of months for things to begin to go awry. I had encountered your typical bumps in the road:

  • Unexpected school expenses that I couldn’t handle. (I thank my lucky stars for the supportive parents I have)
  • Going to Urgent Care because one of my eyes wouldn’t open.
  • Being too shy to give myself the opportunity to hang out with this guy I thought was cute before he left the city.

Nothing that I couldn’t get over in a week, but still annoying to deal with. Life can’t always allow you to be great, right?

We all go through personal trials that test our limits every age, I naively thought these were mine. I didn’t know that my troubles would go deeper than that.

At the time, I sincerely believed that being twenty one was the official marking point in life where you cross the threshold of becoming an actual adult. You’re allowed to drink, get into more bars and clubs and people call you legal, so that means you’re an adult right?

Please, take as much time as you need to facepalm or shake your head at my twenty one year old stupidity.

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I was the typical mold of your average twenty one year old idiot. What made it worse was that I hadn’t fully come to terms with being comfortable with who I was, so I just did what I could to please people and to fit in. All of this doesn’t get any better considering that I’m one the most stubborn people you’ll meet.

Have you ever felt so distant from your actions that it seems as if you’re watching someone else? Doesn’t it suck when you tell yourself “Oh no, that really is me!”.

Twenty one year old me, was not who I truly am.

I don’t drink a lot, I hate clubs because there’s so many strangers all at once (and they smell terrible), I think the idea of hookups is weird and pretentious people anger me. Yet there I was, indulging these things.

Remembering everything about who I tried so hard to be at twenty one always makes me so angry. Sometimes I think about if there were ever a year that I could delete from my life, it would be twenty one.

As much as that age hurts me, I wouldn’t get rid of any of the memories it gave me.

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All the bad of becoming someone so outside of myself was a lesson. I didn’t want friends that only liked me because of what I showed them. I didn’t want to be with guys who made me feel that there was no reason to go past the surface of who I was. I didn’t want to pretend anymore.

I just wanted to enjoy being me.

It took a lot for me to learn how to step away from the herd and stop being a sheep. To this day, I still can’t believe that the moments I sacrificed being myself and exercising self-care just to please others are moments that were real.

The day I realized that it was time to step out of this personality I had adopted was simultaneously the most empowering and embarrassing day of my life.

The Embarrassing Part of That Day: I was crying in my sociology class and walking in and out of the classroom to scream at someone on the phone in my school’s parking lot over something really stupid – a boy.

The Empowering Part of That Day: I realized all at once that I was worth more than who I pretended to be.

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As much as I despise everything I did – and I mean everything – at twenty one years old, I’m grateful for what I learned from my actions.

I’m now twenty four and I’m not only comfortable with who I am, but proud of who I keep on becoming. I’m a young women driven towards her success and happiness. I still have my quirks, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and I’m always going to find room to improve myself.

I’m closing the chapter of looking at who I was at that time with distaste and moving on to accepting my actions. I can’t change those memories. I’ll never get rid of them, but I can accept that was who I was at the time and who I am today is growing to be better.

So to my bad memories, thank you. You’ve taught me who I don’t want to be.

 

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26 thoughts on “You Have The Most Fun At 21.”

  1. You are so right. I also have great memories of my 21st birthday, but also some not so great ones. But at the end, we have to embrace everything!

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  2. Experience is always the best teacher, as they say. If it weren’t for the things that you went through when you were 21, you wouldn’t have realized how much more you deserve and who you really are. I love that you keep those memories precious because they remind you of how much better you are now.

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  3. Age definitely has plenty to teach us. I can remember being crazy and sometimes stupid when I was 21. It’s something we all go through and learn from. It’s important that we remember those times as well, it serves as a reminder.

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  4. I can’t remember how much I did when I was 21. I started my career a little bit early. I guess around 20 so now, I’m 28, I’m having more fun. Don’t forget to make your goals and have fun at the same time. You have a long way to go!

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  5. I think the 20’s are the ultimate time of life, you are learning to become an adult whilst still enjoying youth. Its nice that bad memories have taught you a lot about who you do want to be.

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  6. I think the 20s is the best time to experience and learn, you have the qualities of the teenager and you are looking forward to being a responsible adult. It is nice that bad experiences and memories have taught you about what your future goals have to be.

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  7. This is such a sweet post! So far my twenties are feeling like a great time –– even the bad times are learning experiences. xx

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  8. I’m glad you are having so much fun and enjoying yourself. It’s good to take advantage of being young and take chances. You only have one life to live, right?

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  9. 21 was really fun! I had my first child at 25, and that actually was a really fun time. We explored a lot and grew as a family.

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  10. AS you grow up and face issues of life, one of the main risks is loosing sight of ourselves ,of what we truly are. I think it happens to everyone and we must be able to keep up ourselves again every time. every year, also the hardest one, has built a part of what we are.

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  11. I tried to remember what I did on my 21st birthday since I’ve never been a big birthday celebration person… my cousin and I went to see a movie and then came back home to find relatives having tea and cake with my mum and dad. It’s a long time since that day and many good and bad experiences have come and gone since that day. One thing I do know now is that God never tests us with more than we can bear, and everything that happens in life prepares us for the next stage of our life.

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  12. I’ve done this many times, with many different ages. And I always come back to the same conclusion: I’m not proud of every moment of my past, but every moment of my pst has made me who I am today, and I think I’m pretty great!

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  13. You are lucky indeed to have parents like they are. My parents supported my study expenses too, I know how much that means. Well, you do have best luck in 21 for now. I am 24 and a young mom. Well, I think we are all lucky at angy age if we want to be. You are gorgeous, always stay what you are!

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  14. I love this, the experiences we go through really do shape us. I was anorexic throughout all of my twenties and desperately unwell. My thirties have seen me the happiest yet.

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  15. Hmm… My story is quite the opposite. I was already kind of grounded at 21. I graduated from college at 18, having started early, so by the time I was already 21, I have worked several years already, met so many famous people to interview, and have seen a lot of my works published. I think I was already better off when I hit 20.

    But that’s okay, we all take different roads in life. The important thing is how we live each day from henceforth. Stay beautiful 😀

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  16. I’m definitely not the same person as I was at 21, but actually my 21st year was pretty great for me and I have positive memories of it. In my country the legal adult age is 18, so 21 is not that big of a deal, you already had your fair share of “adult things” by then, and start to cool down 🙂 It’s fun. I’m 30 now, have a family, 2 kids so thinking back on the beginning of my twenties is sweet, hope one day you’ll feel the same.

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