The Importance of Being 21
It's Karim Rahman's birthday!!! While turning 21 is perhaps the most important milestone in a young adult's life, the grand expectations of it all are weighing heavy on our newly-legal columnist's mind...
Today, I turn 21. For some people, it might be just another number, where you get one year closer to death or the next Nacelle party. For me, that two-digit number holds a lot of connotations. On the one hand, I am now (supposedly) my own legal, independent person; my choices, my decisions. I get to do what I want, when I want and however the fuck I want. On the other hand, as my friend so eloquently put it, I get to "flash my ID at the bartender and demand a Martini." Quite honestly, that all sounds super exciting. No longer will I have to awkwardly try to slip by the Cairo Jazz Club bouncers, only to be mercilessly and cruelly dragged out again when my ID shows an age less than that mythically perfect numeral. I just have a feeling that my life is going to be all the better now that the government recognises me as a human being capable of being charged for murder if they see fit (probably not the best thing seeing how I'm borderline homicidal). My expectations for turning 21 could not get any higher even if I tried.
But, if I take a minute to think about it, which of my expectations are going to come true? In all honesty, nothing in my life has worked the way it was supposed to, neither in the 21 years leading up to this moment or even in the meager past couple of months. My life is barely functional; I have the emotional range of a person with severe attachment issues, I have another failed attempt at a functional love life fresh under my belt, my educational experience couldn't be more tiring and I have no job to offset my Real Housewives of New Jersey spending habits. I can't even have a functional actual-day-of-birth, seeing as how I have a midterm deadline to adhere to today that I literally stayed up working on the entirety of last night. Furthermore, seeing how we're smack in the middle of a midterm week from hell, I have no expectations that my friends will throw me a party, of any shape or form (which is a shame since I just perfected my surprised face for any impromptu surprise party that I would have literally seen coming miles away). To top it all off, I have become fat and in desperate need of a workout. So, all in all, this new chapter in my life isn’t really coming off to the greatest start.
Here's the thing, though: age is just a number, and 21 is only one more year to tick off. Turning 21 doesn't make you a mature adult (only a legal one), and it certainly doesn't offer you a magical fix for your life. All these pre-conceptions and expectations we form in our heads are exactly just that: expectations. You can't really write off an entire year of your life just because it didn't start off quite as you planned. You don't know what's going to happen. Personally, even though the odds may be somewhat against the first year of my second decade of life, I couldn't be more excited for it. It's a new start, a brand new page in the never ending RomCom that is my life. I'm not that fat, I could start working out more, and my love life is going to be disastrous whether I'm 20 or 120. College isn't going to change (and since I'm already graduating in two semesters, there's really no point in it changing now), I have a successful column that makes my life far more interesting than it actually is and I have become better far better at managing my human relationships than I thought I possibly could. I have amazing friends, I can go to CJC and I can have a bank account now, however empty it may be.
Simple things, yes, yet in the grander scheme, my life couldn't be any better. Now, where’s that Martini?
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