The 21st birthday is one of the most anticipated days for most Americans. It’s the time when they can buy and drink alcohol, go to clubs to drink alcohol, go to Las Vegas to drink alcohol and go to clubs…
Most Europeans look forward to their 18th birthday with the same excitement. It’s the day when they can get a driver’s license, buy alcohol and tobacco, buy and star in porn, gamble, go to jail…
In Bulgaria… Well, we can drink as soon as we are tall enough to reach the bar, girls go clubbing and star in porn as soon as they look hot enough, and we never learn to drive cars, especially in the capital.
What is the next threshold after the 21st?
Waiting to be old enough to run for Congress or President so that you can fix a few policies, meet powerful buddies and beautiful interns, and get your photo in a few newspapers. Waiting to build a steady career before you have kids or waiting for your kids to grow up so that you can get back to work. Waiting to retire so that you can indulge in farming, smoking cigars, and drinking scotch.
Why are we so keen on waiting, and why are we so dependent on time?
On my birthday, I would like to promise myself that I’m not going to wait for things to happen but will always make them happen.
And just to clarify, I find the “culture of the 21st birthday” in America deplorable. Pouring beer in your throat with a hose, drinking from dirty glasses while playing beer pong, eating alcohol jello shots: it seems completely idiotic and downgraded to me. But if the law has been restricting adolescents’ impulses and desires for twenty-one years, of course that they are going to go all overboard when they finally become legal. In Europe, where these laws (and parents) are not so strict, the transition teenagers-alcohol-adults is smoother and, in my opinion, better for everyone. Click to watch a slideshow on Why are 21st birthday parties such a huge deal to college students.