The Liberating Experience of Turning 21

I walked into my apartment after purchasing my very first Barefoot champagne bottle at the 7-11 next door. The power strut must’ve been something else because I heard one of my friends say, “Ope, I hear footsteps.”

After walking into my room and reuniting with my dear friends I had just had my first legal drink with at my birthday brunch. My roommate, Bri, asked me how I felt. To which I replied, “That was liberating.”


Courtesy Nia Nardi

My 21st birthday was the greatest I’ve ever had, and although miss alcohol surely helped, it is nothing compared to the love and company that was brought by my best friends. The night before, my BFF Nia came into the city from the suburbs. After walking several blocks from Millennium station, in agony, both simultaneously carrying her heavy bag filled with two bottles of wine; the night began.

With constant hot-gossip, laughs, a few..bottles..of wine, a meme game and lots of Ariana Grande on the speakers—we fell asleep before we could ring in the official birthday at midnight. But it was a BLAST. And fear not, as mentioned before, I had an entire brunch planned for the morning so that was fine by me.

I rolled awake and Nia said, “Happy Birthday girl!” and the official birthday began. Water, ibuprofen, shower, more water, coffee, makeup and the Kardashians on TV, I felt rejuvenated. I was ready to head to the Hampton Social for my first legal drink—that is after taking a million pictures in front of  iconic golden ‘21’ balloons of course.

Snow and slush was all around as I tiptoed  in my flowery wedges, trying not to drag my beautiful floral jumpsuit in the wintery weather that was falling in mid-April. Nia, Bri and I made it to the restaurant in one piece, and were greeted by my girl Micha who beat us there.

We were seated at a high-top table when I spotted two fancy drinks at the table across from us. I asked my sweet waitress what that was, to which she replied, the ‘seasonal spritzer.’ And putting my ID flat on the table for preparation, I ordered that seasonal spritzer as my very first legal purchase, which ended up being fifteen-dollars of pure liberation.

Courtesy Olivia Deloian

My other friends arrived one after the other, Ogechi next and then Anna. The table was full of my favorite ladies as I sipped on my fruity drank in pure happiness. I ordered the eggs benedict and sadly left it at the restaurant after getting it boxed up..*cries.*

Mid-Ogechi-story, she starts singing “Happy Birthday” seamlessly which startled and amused all of us. A beautiful little piece of chocolate cake and a dollop of vanilla ice cream was placed in front of me. I made a wish and blew out the pink candle that sit on-top.

Courtesy Nia Nardi

I wanted to take a group picture in front of the pink-florescent “Rose’ all day,” sign but there was only room for me. Shout out to my personal photographer Nia for taking a picture, but we at least all got in front of the mirror for a classic mirror selfie.

Courtesy Nia Nardi

After brunch, we headed back to the apartment where I sent the others up while I made my first champagne purchase for some mimosas. Listening to “Doses & Mimosas,” by Cherub we clinked our glasses in unison and I was thankful to have spent the day exactly how I wanted to.

Courtesy Olivia Deloian’s self timer

With my best friends, surrounded by giant golden 21 balloons, mimosas and music, what else could I have asked for? That in itself is liberating. And I am so thankful.