I turned 21 years old over the summer. Yes, I did go to Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City. No, I did not get trashed, nor did I ever really intend to.
I’m pretty picky about what I drink. Caffeine and carbonated drinks just aren’t for me. Coffee and soda are something that I never even think twice about having, unless of course we’re having a picnic at Ricketts Glenn and all of my family forgets I don’t drink soda and I have absolutely no choice except to have a bit of Sprite.
Anyway, the point of that little anecdote is that I don’t really have any interest in drinking beer or wine or anything sparkling. I mean, sure part of me was curious about what all of these things tasted like, but I wasn’t going to go inhaling all of them for the sake of turning 21. I’ve tried it now; the occasional drink is plenty for me.
Then comes another thing: I went to Atlantic City with my mother. Which, if you think about it, might sound kind of lame. What 21-year-old purposefully goes out with their mother on their 21st birthday?
I’m that 21-year-old and no, I am not ashamed of it. My mother means a great deal to me. We have only grown closer over the past few years, not farther apart with time. Along with my sister, they are easily some of the best and kindest people that I know.
I’d gladly stay in and watch movies with them rather than go out to bars with friends. Hell, I’d rather stay home and watch movies with anyone than go out to the bars.
It’s not even that I have anything against alcohol or bars because I really don’t. If you want to go out and get drunk every weekend at the bars in Bloom, that’s totally your call. I have absolutely nothing against it.
I’m also not about to feel bad for “missing out” when I’m much happier sitting at home watching sitcoms, Marvel movies, or writing. There’s just as much fun to be had staying-in as there is going-out.
I feel like there is a huge pressure on college students to go to bars, parties, or get drunk to “fit in” just because they are afraid to feel like they would miss out on life if they didn’t go. I’m here to tell you that it’s more than okay to stay in and do whatever makes you happy. Or to go to a concert, the movie theater, see a play, or take a bus trip.
All of this is just as fun as going to the bars and dancing and/or drinking the night away with your buddies. This isn’t to say that there aren’t downfalls to liking the milder-side of things.
I’ve noticed that because a lot of my friends or classmates prefer to go out on the weekends rather than stay in, I get sort of lonely. There I am, sitting in my room watching reruns of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” or a new movie by myself while everyone else is out having fun together because they would all prefer to do that than stay in with me.
But again, I’m still not ashamed of my interests. It’s okay to want to go out sometimes, all the time, or never. Just do whatever you enjoy with whoever you like and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for it or make you feel like you are missing out by doing whatever it is you choose to do.
Kristin is a junior English major and is the Op/Ed Assistant Editor for The Voice.