What to do when you turn eighteen. That's a big question. It also is a very subjective question. It's determined very much by who you are, and of course, what you want to do. But that's a conversational cul-de-sac that gets us back to square one. Please, I hear you ask – tell us something more informative than that.
Lol, I hear you.
What I will do instead is divide up the answers into three distinct sections.
Firstly, the rogue sesh-gremlin alcoholic bonanza options.
Next, the opposite end of the spectrum, the 'I want to actually have a functioning liver in 10 years time' 18-year-olds.
The third one is more ambivalent on alcohol but super keen on cars – you know the type.
We've all got these three types in every graduating class. Make no mistake.
But starting in order of appearance, we'll start spit-balling a few ideas for the jocks, populars, plastics – whatever the kids call them nowadays. The drink-a-lots and (if I may be so bold) the 'we think we can't have a good time without alcohol' types. All in jest, all in jest! There were a few months when I very much thought I was that person – how times change.
An obvious answer, maybe. But it does make a difference doing it for the first time. By all means, walk up to the pub on a Sunday morning with your parents and have them buy you your ceremonial first pint. But later that day you will probably be smugly – but still nervously – purchasing your first bottle of vodka from the corner store. Quite apart from the fact that all parties present know that you've been frequenting that establishment for years with a fake ID, it's a loaded moment. Suddenly, you're more nervous than you were when you weren't eighteen.
Now, you see, you have to know what 'your drink' is when people ask – or creepy guys inquire about at the bar. How do you find that out?
You'll like this answer. Try everything!
In something resembling moderation. Well, maybe not. Maybe you're a July baby and the last one of your friendship group to come of age. I wouldn't blame you for having something of a bender on the first night of what seems like freedom. The next day's hangover will be all the regulation you need for the next week!
Up next, we have the no-go alcoholics.
The naysayers. I'll be honest. I was this person when I was about 16 and couldn't care less about drinking. Frankly, I was a bit of a jerk then and thought I was better than everyone around me because I didn't care about the same things they seemed to. I still retain my theory that we are all the worst version of ourselves than we are when we're about 15. Because objectively speaking, we know nothing at 15. But we labour under the illusion that we've got life cracked. Oh, we absolutely did not.
For you guys, maybe take your first driving lesson – unlike the third group who book their first lesson the second the clock clicks over to midnight – it makes you feel mature and grown-up with just a hint of stress and the demonstrable reminder that the consequences for your actions might be a bit larger scale now.
Or equally, you can go on a trip with your friends.
Abroad, or domestically and work your way up. We all love a mini-break, or a city-break, or, really, just a break. But don't tell Rachel from Friends that. That's a whole other discussion!
And lastly, if you aren't old enough to get my Friends references, but you're 18 – then my god I'm getting old.
Excuse me while I drown my sorrows.
But out you all go, you spring chickens.
Enjoy your youth while it lasts, but don't worry, you aren't nearly as old as you think you are.