Confessions of a 21-year-old grandma: I didn’t go out on my birthday

And that’s perfectly fine

Before you get the idea that I’m about to tell my own version of “Sixteen Candles” in which I spent a milestone birthday alone, without a single birthday card, pining over some brooding all-American jock who somehow finds time to rescue homeless kittens in between dismantling the patriarchy and two-a-day practices, I’ve gotta say that it ain’t like that.

If you were looking for another angsty anti-system manifesto, you’ll just have to wait for my next piece – I’m thinking gyms and gender norms?

In any case, the point is that my unconventional 21st probably would have made Ms. Ringwald a bit jealous. In fact, not to brag or anything, I had the great privilege of ordering my first – legal – alcoholic beverage (sorry, Mom) surrounded by some of the greatest people I know.

Kickin' it with a couple day one's and new BFF's

Kickin’ it with a couple day one’s and new BFF’s

I did shed quite a few tears, but every single one of them was a shining droplet from the metaphorical pool of joy that was overflowing inside of me. Or was that the champagne gurgling around in my tummy?

In any case, my big day – and by big I mean drinkin’ out the bottle on my dorm room floor – turned out a lot better than poor Molly Ringwald’s, but not for obvious reasons.

I’m definitely looking forward to presenting my ID at a bar with confidence, instead of the usual trembling hands and accompanying wave of nausea. I can’t wait to share a glass of wine with my mom on our girls’ night out. And I sure as hell can’t wait to buy ‘Skinny Girl’ margaritas whenever I’m feeling particularly basic.

However, I firmly stand by my choice to do none of the above on the 7665th day of my existence. So here are 21 reasons why staying in was the best decision I could have made on this last of highly anticipated birthdays.

Next stop, Nice-N-Easy root touch-up and 401-K’s. Cheer’s to that.

Here is the logic behind my glorious decision to throw it back to Freshman year rather than throw back martinis

1. My sweats and hoodie were a lot more comfortable than last year’s body-con dress.

2. I didn’t get pushed and shoved in the Shooter’s line with hundreds of strangers.

3. I didn’t have to go to Shooter’s.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 12.57.55 PM

I did not have to deal with ANY of this

4. I didn’t have to make small talk with the boy from that one class that I may or may not have met Sophomore year (not like I would have been able to hear half the conversation anyway).

5. I have (hopefully) at least 10 more years to potentially get carded.

6. I remember my birthday.

7. I could call my parents the next day and recall every detail.

8. I could simultaneously drink a little bubbly and debate modern expressions of cultural appropriation.


9. I could hear myself think.

10. I got a decent amount of sleep.

11. My mini cupcakes stayed exactly where they belonged: in my stomach.

12. I had the opportunity to feel like a Freshman again (something I do actually miss), sitting around in a dorm room complaining about Marketplace food and overcrowded buses.

13. I remained warm and cozy, yet not so much that streams of sweat ruined hours of hair straightening.

14. I did not have to witness any excessive dance floor make-outs.

15. Or grinding.

16. Or vomiting in the bathroom whose stalls have probably never had functioning doors.

17. Speaking of which, peeing without having to squat in heels is always a bonus.

18. As is genuinely catching up with old friends that I hadn’t seen in eight months.


I bet there’s no champagne in those cups

19. I was able to reflect soberly on a year’s worth of accomplishments and adventures.

20. I was able to make an achievable list of goals for the year to come.

21. I did exactly what my heart – not Cosmo editors, not the cast of Gossip Girls, not drunken guy on the bench outside of my dorm – advised me to do.

Duke University 21 21st birthday birthday champagne cosmo drinking duke duke university friends shooters twenty twenty first