Life as a teen can be pretty dramatic and emotional at times, but it can also be amazing, and that’s why I put together a list of things to do before you turn 21. When you turn 21 you have officially hit adulthood and have responsibilities you most likely didn’t worry about before. So before that adult feeling sinks in, have fun with these 21 things to do before you turn 21...
1. Conquer One of Your Fears...
Yes, some of these things to do before you turn 21 can be done afterwards. However, when you face one of your fears during your teen years it will help push you to do great things in the future. Whether your fear is getting on the upside down roller coaster, asking out that special someone, or applying to that awesome Summer job you’ve been dreaming of, climb that hill and kick fear in the ass! The rush, the excitement, and the feeling of conquering something you never thought you could do is an out of this world experience you should have before you turn 21.
2. Wear Something Ridiculous...
Remember when you were three and you could get away with wearing anything you wanted, like a tutu and rain boots? Well, who says you can’t do that when you’re older, right?! A good time to do so would be in your teen years before you turn 21. People may stare but they will probably just say, “She’s a teen, they wear such crazy things nowadays!” and no one will care! However, you may get different results the older you get - say if you were 25 and went to school or work wearing mismatching socks, sneakers, rainbow tights and shorts, then they may tell you to go home and change!
3. Stay up All Night...
Have you ever pulled an all nighter to watch the sunrise? If not, then what are you waiting for?! Call up your girlfriends, pop in your favorite TV series DVDs, make some brownies, cookies, and caramel drizzled popcorn, and get ready to stay up all night to see the sunrise in the morning. First one to fall asleep gets an ice cube down her back or wakes up with her bra in the freezer! A fun time to pull an all nighter is during your first week in college; it’s a great way to bond with your roommate and the other girls on your floor.
4. Open a Bank Account...
Okay, so this isn’t as fun as the first three items, but opening up a checking and savings account while you’re young will give you the opportunity to have more fun when you’re older. When you open up your bank account, open up a savings account that will automatically take $25 or $100 a month from your checking. If it isn’t ever available to you then you’ll never miss it. So, when your friends want to plan a trip to Hawaii or Paris when everyone turns 30, guess who will have the money to go?
5. Road Trip
Going cruising in your car is a great way to experience that new found freedom of life without parental control. However, this isn’t something you want to take on right after you get your driver’s license. It would be a good idea to get some driving experience in before you travel on unexplored roads. You may have gone on a few road trips with your parents before, but now that you’re with your friends it will be a whole new experience.
6. Trying Something New
You are never too young or too old to try something new. Though, the more things you try when you’re younger, the more culturally savvy you’ll be by the time you’re an adult! I always wanted to learn how to fish, and growing up in the city didn't really give me many opportunities to do so. But, after moving to a more rural area I finally got the chance to learn how to fish and on my very first outing I caught a bass!
7. Eat Something New
It’s always a good idea to try new foods when you’re younger because later you can surprise people when you say that you tried it. Even if you don’t like it, at least you can say that you gave it a try!
8. Shut down Social Media
No, you don’t have to shut down social media forever, if I did that I wouldn’t have a job! However, you should turn it off for a week or even a month. While I was on vacation for two weeks I gave myself a social media break and enjoyed it so much that I’m considering doing it again for an entire month. It gave me the chance to really be in the moment and enjoy what we were doing instead of thinking about and looking at what everyone else was doing on social media. If you tweet and go on Facebook all day long, consider giving yourself a social media break once in a while.
9. Join a Club
Getting involved in your neighborhood or school is a great way to build your resume and enhance your social skills. Join a club that really means something to you and not just because your friend is in it. Also consider joining a club that gives back to the community or volunteer your time to help others in need.
10. Change Your Hair
Have you been thinking about a big hair color or style change? If you really want to get crazy with your hair, perhaps dip dyeing the ends or cutting it like Miley Cyrus, you should probably do so now while you’re young and don’t have as many people to answer to! When you’re older, it may be more of an issue at work if you dye half of your hair pink or give it a wicked, bold cut. So enjoy changing it up while you can and give it a few different colors and shapes!
11. Go to a Concert
When you’re older it’s always fun to talk about your first concert, especially if it was a band who is no longer around! My first concert was when I was in high school and Christina Aguilera and Destiny’s Child were the newest and biggest pop stars at the time. Nowadays I couldn’t imagine the two on stage together, not to mention that Destiny’s Child are no longer a group.
12. Thank Your Family
As a teen you sometimes forget about all of the amazing things mom or dad did for you because you have your own drama to deal with. Not to mention, you might sometimes take it out on them when they don't deserve it. However, as you get older you’ll realize how much they love you and how much they sacrificed so you and your siblings would have a better childhood. So don't forget to thank your parents, guardians, and family for everything they did so you could be the person you are today.
13. Stand up for Yourself
Do you get pushed around a lot or do too many favors for “friends” and family members? Well it’s time to stand up for yourself and take control of your life. No more being told what you’re going to do with your life, no more lending your friends money every weekend, and no more miss nice girl! Sometimes you have to distance yourself from people who walk all over you and that’s okay. In the long run they will either understand and have more respect for you or they won’t understand, which means you made the right decision to stand up for yourself and walk away from them.
14. Stand up for Someone else
So now that you found your courage and your backbone, why not stand up for someone else who may not have found it yet. Every day you see a girl sitting by herself at lunch because she lives in a trailer park or, at work, you overhear the guys talking about the girl who is curvy in all the right areas. Stop sitting on the sidelines and stand up for them and one day they will learn by your example to stand up for themselves.
15. Make a Semi-Big Purchase
Now don’t go crazy and purchase something you can’t afford that will make you late on your cell phone bill next month. However, do make a purchase of an item that you’ve been saving up for after you opened your checking account...see now, wasn’t that a smart idea?! Making a semi-big yet fun purchase will give you that “I can do this, I can pay for things on my own” feeling that will help push you towards adulthood while still enjoying your “kid” years. You don’t have to handle all of the adult responsibilities just yet, but you should start making a few big decisions on your own and learn as you grow.
16. Accomplish One of Your Big Goals
Do you have a long list of goals you want to conquer before you turn 30, but think that you can't do some of them until you're at least 21 or older? Well who says you have to wait until then? Why not get the satisfaction of accomplishing one of them while you’re young?! There are many young adults who are doing great things today; if you want something, you just have to believe that you can go after it. One young lady that inspires me is Jessica, the creator of headbandsofhope.org, because right before her 20th birthday she came up with the concept of making headbands to sell and donate. For every headband you purchase from her shop, one is donated to a little girl fighting cancer. How amazing is that?!
17. Make New Goals
If you’re still trying to figure out what you want to do in life, think of all the things you love to do and write them down. Perhaps thinking about what you might want in five to ten years is too much for you, so make new goals of what you want to accomplish this year or next. No goal is ever too small to put on your list.
18. Start a Journal
Besides writing down your goals, starting a journal is a great way to think about where you are in life, how far you’ve come, and where you want to go. Yes, you’re young but you have survived the drama filled hallways of high school and perhaps a few years of college, and that's something to be proud of. Make this a journal about good things and happy thoughts, so when you’re having a bad day you can re-read all of the great things you have done and brush this one bad day off like it was no big deal.
19. Make Friends with Someone outside of Your Circle
Through out different stages in our lives we usually make friends with someone new, whether it’s in high school, college, or at work. However, there are some people we think look cool enough to talk to but never put ourselves out there to say hello. In high school it can be a little more difficult to make friends with someone who is outside of your circle. So, after you graduate and start a new career or start classes at college, do the unexpected and make friends with someone you may not have said hello to before.
20. Get outside More
When I was a kid we played outside until mom had to yell at us to come inside! Nowadays everyone is too busy on their iPads, laptops or computers, and watching too much TV or playing too many video games. By the time everyone is between the ages of ten and thirteen they already want their own Facebook page and Twitter name. Don’t do that to yourself, don’t lose your childhood to sit inside and read everyone’s status updates. Get outside more and enjoy being a kid while you can.
21. Wait until You’re 21 to Drink
This goes along with my previous point to enjoy being a kid while you can. Don’t rush adulthood. Yes, learn about saving money, making goals, and standing up for yourself, but don’t drink before you are legally allowed to. When you do celebrate your 21st birthday, please remember to be responsible and have a designated driver and don’t over drink.
The years seem to go by so fast and before you know it, you’re graduating college and looking for a job. So have fun with all of these things to do before you turn 21 and make memories worth remembering. What would you add to the list?