The differences between turning 21 and turning 31

My 31st birthday was on Monday. I took the day off work, shopped, watched a girlie flick (“Sex and the City 2″) while I filled some orders, went with ma hubby to dinner at my favorite joint in town, and then saw Occulus.

When we stepped out of the movie theater, on the evening of April 14 in northeast Indiana, the ground was covered in snow.

APRIL EFFING 14th.

A decade prior, I walked out of an underage bar in Kent, Ohio, drunk for the second time in my life (I was not a college drinker …) I looked up. I looked at my boyfriend. I looked around.

“I’m not that drunk, am I?”

No, I was not, because it was snowing. They were the only two times in my life it’s snowed on my VERY SPRING BIRTHDAY.

At my 21st birthday, I sang karaoke for the first time in my life. The song, fittingly, was “Like a Virgin.” That is what’s happening here.

I had no idea I was the kind of girl who wore midriff shirts, but then you go. Also, I wish I looked half as cool as Melissa did while we sang.

At my 31st birthday, which I celebrated with friends this past Saturday, I karaoked again, and I knocked something silly off my bucket list: I sang on karaoke one of my favorite George Michael songs of all time, one that I’ve wanted to sing for ages but was too shy to do in front of strangers: “I Want Your Sex.”

First time, “Like a Virgin.” A decade later, “I Want Your Sex.” You can’t make this shit up, folks.

At my 21st birthday, we started the night at a friend’s, who wanted to be the first to provide me with my first legal drink. The day fell on a Sunday, so at midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning, we cheersed and headed out.

At midnight. AND I WASN’T TIRED.

My 31st birthday began at 5:30 p.m. That’s like early bird special time, but I wanted to go to a winery that closed at 7 p.m. So we sipped our wines, bought copious amounts of wine slushies, and enjoyed the gorgeous patio.

At my 21st birthday, we were all CASUAL. Oh man, so many jeans, so many sweatshirts and sweaters. Look at us go:

For 31? Still some jeans, but considerably more fitted. Fewer belly buttons. (Ugh, seriously, can I go back in time and bitchslap me?) Much more colorful and interesting tops. At least three maxi skirts (for the birthday girl included). I never really GOT it when my mama said women get better with age. But … we do. (Not that I don’t love those early-20s fools above. But come on.)

(There were boys there too, but the ladies photo is much more fun.)

At 21, I guarantee I wanted people to buy me all the things. I wasn’t a material girl, but I know I was hyped up to see what the boy got me. (Don’t ask … it’s been a decade, do you think I remember??)

At 31, when friends showed up with gifts, I was uncomfortable opening them. I so appreciate the gesture and feel so warm and fuzzy that people like me enough to show up with a gift. But I don’t throw parties for presents–I throw them to make all the people I like get in one space at one time.

(Though the giant pop-up floor map of Westeros was pretty badass …)

And of course … there’s that whole “I have a husband now” thing. And that’s pretty much the best.

Alrighty, what was your 21st birthday like? Tell me you wore ridiculous things, too??? And how did it compare to your most recent celebration?

2 thoughts on “The differences between turning 21 and turning 31

  1. Oh god, this is amazing in so many ways. The pictures are epic. I’ll never forget my 21st bday cuz I showed up to my summer internship job in Elyria the next day totally hungover (and had to have my photo taken for my ID that morning). My 31st bday was spent in Ohio, celebrating with my family, my son, my nieces, etc. Muuuuch more low key. And still probably more stylish. ;)

  2. Love this comparison, & happy belated 31st! I can’t remember what I wore on my 21st birthday, but I know I rode a mechanical bull & took so many shots that I could hardly sign my own name by the end of the night. I… expect 31 to look quite different, but let’s deal with 30 first. :)

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