Family, Humor, Life

Writing Challenge #8- The Night of My 21st Birthday

I felt this was an appropriate re-blog this week. 

First published April 19th, 2016

So I totally blew the writing challenges this month.
Oh, come on, you knew I would, and I knew it too.
It was too much pressure.
All of those writing challenges were not getting done, plus once I read through some of them and wrote them?
Holy balls, they were quite boring and very negative.
You wouldn’t have liked that side of me.
But I stuck to a couple of writing challenges because I felt I should document them.
One of which is the night of my 21st birthday.

My 21st birthday “celebration” will be one of those stories that I hope my grandkids will tell their children, and so on.
Stories that will make them realize how incredibly socially awkward their grandma was and how they are very lucky to be alive because the gene pool could have very well ended with me.

Red and White Balloons on White Wall

My 21st birthday was going to be legendary.
Well, legendary in my eyes, anyway.
See, when I was in my late teens and early twenties, I wasn’t going to parties or hanging out every weekend with friends in dorms. I was working full time at a department store, by choice. I didn’t choose to go to college or hang out at frat parties or drink.
Or even have fun, apparently.
So when I met someone who was my age who was also not in college and also working full time, I clung to her like an 80s teenager clung to a mullet.

2021 note- I realize now that anxiety was a reason I “chose” not to go away to college. I hope you don’t think I was mocking those who did those things. Anxiety was the reason I mocked that. 🙂 

I needed to insert a picture of myself at that time. I mean, look at that stellar hair?

That, someone, was a girl who I will call Peg for the sake of the story. That’s not her actual name, and I don’t even know why I am protecting her because I’m no longer friends with Peg. Long story that has nothing to do with my 21st birthday, I swear.

Courtesy/ Wayfair

Peg and I were the best of friends for many years. She was the yin to my yang. We loved to do things that others might have considered lame. Going hunting for Precious Moments figurines at random Hallmark stores (yawn), or one time, we got really crazy and drove over the border to Wisconsin.

2021 note- Whoa, rein it in girls. 

You should have heard us when we crossed. It was like we were crossing into another country or going to a strip club.

2021 note- This was before the internet.

I was almost 21 years old, and I was pretty tame. Even though I had plenty of friends who did like to party (Peg not included), I was very content to go home after a long ten-hour day/night at work, heat my dinner in the microwave, and watch Arsenio Hall with my mom. I swear to God I am telling the truth. 

2021 note- I changed a lot by the time I was 23 years old, but I swear on my children all the above is accurate and not made up for this blog. 

Back story- a few weeks before my 21st birthday, I had just bought my very first car.
I was so excited because I had bought it with no help from anyone.
I saved up the down payment, got the loan all by myself and went to the dealership with moral support from my dad, and bought myself a car.
I may or may not have had my lunch break inside my car at work every day for the first month I owned it.
It was a really proud moment in my life.

2021 note- Of course I could save up for a car. My boyfriend lived 400 miles away, I didn’t party; I worked 10-hour days, and the act of going to Wisconsin seemed like I was flirting with danger.

I was a parent’s wet dream. 

So the plan was going to be that Peg and I were going to go out on my 21st birthday and go to dinner! I told her I might even have an alcoholic drink with one of those umbrella thingies, and we giggled uncontrollably! I bought a new outfit and was all excited to go out, as party people do!

2021 note- Real “party people” don’t refer to themselves as “party people”. Also, how would we even know how to get to a bar? This was before GPS and we only knew how to get to Hallmark stores and Wisconsin, so…

It was as I was getting ready for my birthday extravaganza when I got a phone call from Peg saying that she wasn’t able to go out with me. She decided she wanted to go to a movie with her brother instead. I don’t want to go on and on about it because it was a long time ago, but let’s just say, it broke my little Precious Moments heart.

2021 note- Bitch. 


Woman Wearing Striped Shirt Holding Ice Cream

My parents saved the day, as parents always do by telling me to “get ready, we are going to the DQ!”
We ended up drowning my sorrows in a Peanut Buster Parfait.
While sitting in my brand new car.
On my 21st birthday.

Honestly, it didn’t sound pathetic until I was re-telling it to someone a few years ago when a friend asked what did you do on your 21st birthday?

“I spent it with my parents at the DQ after my friend blew me off.”


But as I get older, I find it was one of my better birthdays.

I see the differences in my children now, as there is an eight-year age gap.
One is all about being away from her parents, the other is desperately in love with her parents but on the cusp of being independent.
I know one would love a birthday party for three at the DQ, while the other one would look at it as one of the worst punishments in the world.
One day, that too will change in direction for both girls.
It is such a storm we are riding in with these children.
This one of love and pain and constant change that tears me up inside yet brings me joy at another turn.

I am glad I had that DQ birthday party with my parents.
As for my girls, I will always have the car keys waiting for an impromptu DQ party.
And I am always happy to share with them the wonders of Arsenio Hall.
Woof woof.

13 thoughts on “Writing Challenge #8- The Night of My 21st Birthday”

  1. I spent my 21st with my parents, too, and it is such a precious memory. I was probably the same level of *wild* that you were at 21…and have remained so, years later. I loved reading your story and the modifications you made for 2021 – it’s so funny how those memories stand out but sometimes in a good way! DQ is a lovely way to spend a 21st if you ask me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have absolutely no idea what I did on my 21st birthday… I know my husband and I had already bought a house since we hadn’t been able to buy alcohol ourselves for our housewarming party, but I was never a drinker so we sure as heck didn’t go out to a bar. My birthday is in the summer so maybe we went away somewhere or had a cookout or something??

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t remember my 21st birthday..I do know that my brother bought me a jug of peach schnapps because I loved the fuzzy navel, but I was dating someone two years younger and our shitty three year relationship was 4 months away from ending..1991..gotta love it..yours though, DQ sounds wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. ice cream in general is wonderful, I gave up drinking once I hit 40 seems I never made it to the always came I quit and besides my wife is on a lot of meds to control her fun in drinking alone. I’ll take the schnapps and oj over any beer or hard liquor bleeech. Fruity Mixed drinks were always my thing or wine coolers or zima…Never truly a man’s man drinker lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The subject of drinking back in the day will be dramatized in my podcast for next Saturday. Today’s podcast is dedicated to friend who in trying to catch a scoop for his magazine ruined and took his life.


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