Turning 18 is indeed a birthday different from all birthdays. Eighteen is an age of discovery, a beginning of a new journey in life towards a new chapter called adulthood. It’s a milestone sometimes marked by a debutante ball for the ladies, or an all-nighter with the boys. There was this Tweet a long time ago that stuck for its truthful ring — “18 is the best age. You get to do adult things while still acting like a kid.” This age is the transitioning age into adulthood where society is a little more understanding and accepting of the eighteen-year-old learning the ropes.
Parents get emotional when their kids turn 18. Their kids are college-bound at this age, on their way to independence. They are anxious because there are so many things they cannot control over their kids anymore. They fear for their kids’ safety and often question their actions and decisions. Age 18 is usually associated with children leaving their family home, whether for a trade school, university, or simply breaking away from their parents and living independently.
That magical age is when the teenager can now cast a vote, get wed, buy a house, gamble, go to jail, or be sued. Parents faint at this thought, but this is the turning point for all teenagers — they’re now legally adults. Along with the legal rights come the legal responsibilities.
As we know it, The United States no longer has a military draft, but 18-year-old boys still must register for the Selective Service. The draft is often feared by parents because of the possibility their son could be called to war. Nevertheless, their son must still register. Medical records, grades, bank statements, school transcripts, and other disciplinary records are now off-limits to parents. Unless the child formally gives consent allowing access to these records to their parents, the records are their own to privately protect.
And, though the legal age for drinking in the U.S. is 21, drugs and alcohol abound in the social circles the new adult may take part in. With this choice of independence, the new adult must understand the real dangers of party scenes that can lead them to alcohol and substance abuse and dependence. In other countries, an 18-year-old is legally allowed to purchase alcohol.
Anyway, the most awaited crossover to adulthood happens. Here are the top exciting things an 18-year-old can now do.
1. Get a tattoo or body piercing
If you’ve always dreamt of getting inked or pierced, and your parents have always said no, you can now get a tattoo or a body piercing without their consent.
2. Bring home a pet
Purchasing a pet or applying to adopt one from a shelter is now something you can do without having to ask permission from your parents — unless you’re bringing that pet into their house. Just make sure you are responsible enough to care for one.
3. Book a cruise and travel on your own
Traveling is now something you can do and make arrangements on your own. You can book a plane ticket, a cruise, or a tour without having to seek parental consent.
4. Donate blood
You can donate blood as often as allowed without having to secure the written consent of your parents.
5. Buy a pack of cigarettes
Smoking is not a good habit to form, but it is now legal to purchase tobacco products and smoke a cigarette if you wish.
6. Rent an apartment
Since 18 is the legal age allowed to sign a contract, you can now rent an apartment if you want.
7. Legally sign a contract
Your signature now can be a stamp that is legally binding when you sign a contract.
8. Buy a lottery ticket
One of the simple joys of an eighteen-year-old is being able to purchase a lottery ticket. Yes, you are legally allowed to secure your winnings.
9. Jury duty
One thing an adult can do to render service for his country is to attend jury duty.
10. Legally change your name
If you’ve always hated your name, you can now legally petition to have it changed.
11. Open a bank account
Opening a bank account or an investment account is one of the wisest things an 18-year-old can do on his own.
12. Purchase a car
You can now purchase big items in your name, including that coveted car you’ve been saving up money for.
13. Sign up for the military
If being a soldier is your lifelong dream you can now sign up for the military.
14. Be a certified real estate agent
Starting out a career in real estate is a sleek and smart move for an 18-year-old.
15. Work full time
If you’ve been doing odd jobs part-time, you can now work hours as allowed by law for an adult.
16. Enter a strip club
Ever been curious about what happens inside a strip club? As an adult, you can now freely enter a strip joint, or any other adult shop.
17. Purchase Porn
Porn sites always ask for your legal age to be able to enter and purchase videos. At 18, you are at a discretionary and legal age to watch, enjoy, and purchase porn.
18. Be a bartender
While it isn’t legal yet for you to drink, you can now apply to work at a bar, either to be a mixologist or serve alcohol to patrons.
19. Cut class
This isn’t really a recommended thing to be done, but when absolutely necessary, you aren’t required to go to your college classes; though your grade may suffer if you don’t attend.
20. Get married
Be warned of the responsibilities attached to marriage should you decide to jump into it at 18.
21. Get a credit card
Getting that credit card may just be your ticket to freedom from your parents — but not to financial freedom as credit cards come with responsibilities to pay with interest.
22. Get a 10-year passport
You can now travel with ease outside of the country with a 10-year valid passport that you can apply for on your own.
23. Apply for a mortgage
It is legal to apply for and receive a loan — provided you get approved for it, and you have the capacity to pay for it.
24. Watch festivals and concerts
You can now enter festival grounds and watch concerts with friends without an adult companion.
25. Be an uber driver
If this is something that sparks your interest, you can apply to be an Uber driver on your chosen times and earn on the side.
You are now legally qualified to register and cast a vote.
27. Get elected
You can get started on your political career and run for State Office. Most states allow an 18-year-old to be a legitimate candidate and get elected in office.
28. Drive until late at night
Say goodbye to a curfew because you now can drive late into the night and not get a ticket for violating curfews.
29. Become a notary
Becoming a public notary is a notable way of earning money and helping prevent theft and fraud.
30. Adopt a child and become a parent
Once you become an adult, you are now eligible to legally adopt a child. Although the process may take a long time, and the requirements will be very rigid, you can begin the process when you turn 18.
31. Live independently of your parents
Leaving the nest is a major milestone. When you turn 18, you can move out of your parents’ home and live independently.
32. File a lawsuit
If someone has wronged you, and you need to take legal action, you can file a lawsuit without parental consent.
33. Pawn something
Short on cash? You can now pawn something if you need some cash until the next paycheck arrives.
34. Get medical care on your own
If you are embarrassed to bring your parents along for a medical consultation over anything, you can seek medical care on your own at age 18.
35. Watch an R-rated movie
Of course, you’ve probably taken a peek at R-rated movies on Netflix if your subscription isn’t restricted. Now, though, you can legally enter a cinema to watch on your own an R-rated movie.
There are a million and one things you can do as an adult which you’ve been limited from doing before you turned 18. Before you jump for joy and get excited for all the things you want to tick off your bucket list, take stock of your situation, remember the values you were raised with, and plan out your life beyond 18. Eighteen is a fantastic age. Indeed, it is a milestone you should celebrate and cherish. With these tips, you can ring on your birthday in a fun, well-informed way.