21 and Older

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21 AND OLDER
by Courtney Conigliaro

I remember it like it was yesterday.  Seeing that sign on the door as if it was an entrance into a magical place far, far away. And it did seem far away at 20 years old. It was exclusive and for the elite–blocked off by velvet ropes and tall men checking off names on a short list letting only them get through.  And on my day entering that world there were balloons, crowns, party dresses, and white sparkling drinks in tall glasses.  As I walked up to that tall man, I felt proud yet intimidated.  It was my turn at last. I showed him my magical card and with a look and a swipe, I was in.   I entered that magical place.  I was officially a part of the 21 and older.

So what does that mean to me now at 24?  As a young professional living in West Chester, PA–it means the best part of adulthood.  That day brought on responsibility, maturity, and of course lots of fun.  Though the glamour of turning 21 has died down, the reality of it has made me into the person I am today. Sure, I made mistakes but I learned from them.  And becoming a young adult granted me access to a whole new world of opportunities–friendships, connections, careers, and experiences I never had.  

Now when I go to the bars on High and Gay street, those tall men don’t seem so big and intimidating.  They know my name and give me the best seats and make sure I receive the best service. When I want to just chill and get away from the stress of work, I can travel to a special time called happy hour where I find that the majority of people are there for the same reason (which really paves the way for conversation.)  And when I get my hair and makeup done at the salon, I can sip champagne as I flip through fashion mags with the other women as we chat about the latest gossip in Hollywood. During the autumn season, I can go to pumpkin ale sampling and wear my new fall scarf and boots while meeting tons of new people and learning a thing or two. But it’s not just about alcohol.  My best girlfriend and I love to get appetizers late night around 10 PM and we end up talking for hours at a place we feel welcome.  Or I can go to that Halloween costume contest hoping my Lady GaGa outfit wins me first prize.  It’s these times in this place that bring the best of memories that I wouldn’t have had anywhere else or at any other age.

I’m sure some would agree that it’s cool to be 21 and older for all the wrong reasons.  
But I enjoy it for the right ones, the magical ones, and I love every minute

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