The five biggest struggles you go through when you turn 21

November 16, 2016
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Turning the big 21 is basically the last time anyone will care about your birthday for the next 79 years, so you might feel like making this a big one. This could potentially be one of the best years of your life, particularly if you’re wrapping up your last year of study and blasting through the last months of independent adulthood before having the responsibilities of full-time work come crashing down upon you.

But it isn't all sunshine, roses and waking up still trashed on your neighbour’s front lawn at 3pm… it'll be the most challenging and exciting time you'll have experienced so far (and yes, even better than that time you went to laser tag for your 14th birthday party).

How does everyone already have an industry job lined up?!

It just doesn't make sense, how can everyone already be so successful?

Chances are, you've slogged it out at an internship - gotten the coffees, newspapers and even put the bins out… with no job offers in sight.

Then there are those friends creating the most aesthetic Insta posts from their pre-employment backpacking tours through Europe, while you're just trying to sort out your last year, graduation and what you're even going to do with your life.

Anxiety levels = through the roof.

It's 21st season and I'm bad at parties…

When you have 52 parties lined up for every weekend of the year and your go-to dance move is still the Macarena - you'll probably want to have a good hard look at this.

Jokes aside, sometimes parties suck and maybe you just don't like them as a way of celebrating. For the awkward among us, having a whole huge party for turning 21 can feel horrifying, especially when your parents keep running around showing everyone pictures of you as a toddler wearing nothing but a pair of gumboots (real talk)… it can get a little uncomfortable.

That full year wait until you're considered independent in the eyes of Centrelink

If I had the choice between climbing Mount Everest and trying to negotiate with Centrelink, I'd already be in Nepal.

For the Youth Allowance seekers out there, "If you are 22 years or over you are automatically considered independent," which is probably one of the most frustrating criteria to navigate around - especially if you really need it. Now you're at that age where it's less and less acceptable to be making your parents pay for things, but you don't have the support to pay for a lot of things yourself.

It's a hard knock life, for us.

Realising that your body is at its peak right now

Somewhere around the 21-year-old mark, your metabolism will start to give up. Seeing as you've given it a pounding every booze-fuelled weekend for the last five years, now it's the beer belly's turn to take over. Even your trusty old liver has had enough and you start to learn what a real 'hangover' really means (RIP liver, you will be missed).

For the genetically unlucky out there, you may even look in the mirror to find your hair starting to thin… or even grey...

Realising this year is probably the best year of your life and everything is going to suck just a little bit more from now on…

As tough as it is, turning 21 will probably be the peak of your youth, maybe even your life if you don't sort your shit out.

It's been a real ride and everything's going to be a little harder, take a little longer and cost a little more from now on - but it's all worth it and hey… you've made it this far and had a baller year!

Harrison Johnstone

A country kid at heart with city slicking aspirations in his head; Harrison is an aspiring journalist, video editor and human being.