I am now officially an adult. While the law has recognized me as an adult since I turned 18, I just never really felt like anything special. That is until now, because now I am 21.
When you turn 21 a whole new world opens up to you. Wednesday at midnight I discovered things that I never knew existed. For one, there is a seemingly endless selection of things to do on weeknights in Fort Collins, all of which I couldn't do before. I am of course referring to the drink specials and college nights that only those 21 years of age or older can partake in.
Secondly, I am finally able to consider the entire menu when eating at restaurants. Now this may not seem like a big deal to most, but my menu options just doubled in number for no reason other than my age, which is amazing to me. The back pages and drink listings that were once reserved only for the most distinguished guests are now fair game.
The third new advantage I experience as a 21-year-old adult is the ability to give alcohol as a gift. I can now give a bottle of wine when invited to dinner and not be asked by the host if I stole it from my parents.
Fourthly, I can now say things like "Yes officer, I have been drinking!" and "yeah that is alcohol on my breath, Dad! What are you going to do about it?" and I can get away with it all.
The advantages go on and on, as most of those who are 21 have already realized. But being 21 goes further than just being able to sit in the Ramskeller sipping a cold one during finals week: It also means respect. And not just respect from high schoolers begging you to buy them some beer. No, I'm talking about respect from your peers. The same peers who have been going out on Thursdays and going to Las Vegas and playing in poker tournaments all while you sit at home knitting (or whatever it is you like to do).
It also means respect from your elders. The ones who have been saying things like, "because I say so!" for the past 21 years are now just a little nicer. I think this is partially because they know you now have the power to double the bill when eating out simply by ordering a few margaritas. Whatever the cause though, it is a life-changing experience that I for one will never forget.
There are disadvantages to being 21, let's be sure. Tickets to sporting events (i.e. Nuggets, Rockies) are now the cheapest part of the experience, what with a single beer costing $6. Being 21 could very possibly run me into a heap of brokenness within just a few weeks; I'll let you know how that plays out.
Overall though, I'd say that turning 21 is a momentous event in any young person's life, one that will undoubtedly be remembered forever. It means that you are a respected member of the adult community for the first time in your life.
I know that I will never forget the friends and family that made my 21st so special, and I owe them a debt of gratitude. Actually I could just take them out for drinks; I've never been able to do that before.
Ryan Chapman is a junior marketing major. His column runs every Wednesday in the Collegian.