21st_birthday_cardThis past Saturday I turned 21. Woop-de-doo-dar. Now, it was a lovely affair: lots of presents, cakes, cards and people throwing their hard earned cash my way. Really, I can’t complain. What I can’t seem to get to the bottom of however, is the reason behind people in the UK still thinking that 21 is some huge milestone. It really isn’t!

Ok so in the good old US of A 21 is the legal age for purchasing alcohol and that is indeed reason to celebrate, especially when you consider that it is perfectly legal and quite possible to have married, had children and been shot at for your country before a drop of alcohol had touched your lips legally. Madness.

And yes, the age when a person became an adult in the UK used to be 21 but seeing as how that’s now all in the past, why are people still so caught up with 21? And what’s all this business with a key?

I mean, it’s not as if 21 is even a round number. 20 I could live with but 21? You can’t use the same argument people use when they claim that the year 2000 wasn’t the beginning of the millennium because of the non-existence of the year 0 because there was a time when everybody was younger than one year old. (I was quite chuffed with myself for figuring that argument out in my head)

I find that the reality of a person’s 21st birthday is best summed up in the message my auntie wrote in her card to me:

“Best wishes on your birthday. Now you can do all of the things you have been doing for years. Go you.”

So there we are – happy birthday and well done me for not dying on you all yet. I know, I’m not sure how I do it either.


2 thoughts on “21?

  1. you know, that is odd. why do you UK folks celebrate 21 like it’s the beginning of a new life? especially, since it’s really just a continuation of everything you’d already been doing (as you so noted). i’d hate to think that my former compatriots have simply bent over and taken to this culturally American milestone. then again, this IS coming from the American that celebrated her 21st in France much as she would have if she were, indeed, back home in the US. funny how that all worked out.

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