I have no reason to run
So will someone come and carry me home tonight
The angels never arrived
But I can hear the choir
So will someone come and carry me home
We are young
So let's set the world on fire
We can burn brighter
Than the sun”
We Are Young – fun. ft. Janelle Monáe
Remember when you were a wee child about to start your first day at school and year six seemed so far away. Or when you started high school and saw the year 13’s walking by and thought there was no way you would ever become that old, ever. You would go to your older cousin’s birthday milestones; when they reached were 13 and they’d reached the teen years or when they were 18 and were allowed their first (legally) alcoholic drink. Getting older seemed such a far away concept, until you became that person who had magically gotten older.
This year has been a year of celebrating 21st birthdays. Traditionally, this is seen as the coming of age birthday and it originates from the rituals of knighthood – 21 was the age when a boy was deemed to have completed his training and he could become a knight. In Elizabethan times, it was the age in which a boy became a man and was therefore allowed to marry. In current society, it holds little more value than an excuse to get really drunk together and celebrate the life we’d had so far – and if you are an American, then you are legally allowed to drink and enter bars. All these traditions make me think turning 21 is the point where you become an adult and, as an adult, you have to act a lot more responsible. Since I’ve turned 21 all that has changed is my increasing hatred for 18 year olds who drunkenly squeal loudly when I’m trying to have a nice drink out with some friends. And there’s a few things which I’ve learned along the way which I wouldn’t have known a few years back. But otherwise, I don’t really feel like my age is any more than a number, like my shoe size or phone number.
I chose We Are Young this week for two reasons. Firstly, at one of my friends’ 21st birthdays this year her brothers pulled out a guitar and sang the song, and all the party goers joined in. It was a nice song choice and I think it summed up 21st birthdays perfectly – which brings me to point two. For our 21st birthday night, and, let’s face it, for all our friends’ 21st birthdays because they are designed to be celebrated with your best mates – we are young and the world is on our side. We are only 21. We have our whole lives to find real jobs, pay off student loans and eat more than baked beans on toast every night because that’s all we can afford right now.
This year I’ve attended some of the best parties, heard amazing life stories about my best mates, and laughed myself until I nearly cried at some fantastic and embarrassing photographs, and been lucky enough to have my own fabulous party with the best people on earth. Turning 21 is, as I’ve said above, traditionally meant to be about coming of age. But I can’t help but feel young and carefree and, while excited about my unknown future, this is the time where we live in the moment, because we are young.
Here's a selection of photos from some of the 21st I've been to this year:
The 21st which inspired this week's song choice
My 21st! The theme was from Luger Boa's album - New Hot Nights
Cupcakes - 21st birthday cake is the best cake ever!
An example of the effort people put in for their birthdays - this one had a marquee and lights!
It's also been a year of cool themes - this was Black and Gold
And there's been some fantastic fun times all year!