Five reasons why 21 is the most formative age

June 28, 2017
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You hear it time and time again, that turning 18 is the big milestone age. But besides the perk of being able to drink legally, it's not an age with that many changes. You’re either still at high school or you’re just out of high school, hanging with the same friends you always did, just now with the ability to do that at a nightclub.

While 19 proves to be a bit of an underwhelming year for most and 20 offers a few changes in your life, it’s that 21 milestone that happens to also be the most formative year for most of us.

You’re really an adult now

You felt like you were an adult at 18, but that was more like faux-adulthood. Now it’s the real deal, bills and debt and all. Somehow the magic age of 21 means your parents are now officially giving you more responsibilities.

The last three years have all been about experimenting

You’ve grown a little older and wiser, which means you now realise what an idiot you were when you were 18. You made mistakes, whether that was in the realm of relationships or not knowing your drinking limits, but you learned from them. You might continue to make mistakes, but it's at the age of 21 that you start to set up boundaries for yourself and decide what you will and won’t accept for yourself.

The real world has become a lot more real

At 21, you’re probably in your third or fourth year of uni – that means this is either your final year or one of your last years of uni. While in first and second year you could ignore those internships and the reality of graduation and getting a full-time gig, now it’s time to face the music and realise you can’t avoid it any longer.

You’ll realise who your friends are

After a few years of uni, you’ll have no doubt experienced a few new friendships as well as friendship breakups. You might have thought you’d found your BFF in high school, but the years leading up to 21 involve so much change that some friendships inevitably don’t last. At 21, you finally know who your true soul friends are and realise that it’s not worth holding on to friends for old times’ sake, particularly if they’re toxic relationships.

You have a better idea of what you want

I'm not saying you have to have it all figured out by the age of 21, but you’ll no doubt have a better idea now than you did three years ago. As you get a bit more life experience, you’ll realise what you do and don’t want out of your personal and professional life. Maybe travelling awakened you to a different path, or your time at uni made you realise your true passion. Whatever it is, 21 is that magical age where things become more clear and you finally start to see some direction for the remainder of your 20s.