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Things You Can Do When You’re 18: The Good, Bad, and Scary

There are a lot of things you can do when you’re 18. Some of them are exciting and freeing, while others are intense and even scary.

Things You Can Do When You're 18

At looong last! You’re 18! I’ll bet you’ve been waiting for this day to come for quite some time. All the things you can do when you’re 18 have seemed so far away, until now.

You’ve just hit another milestone. And it’s not just any other milestone. It’s THE milestone. You are an adult. Turning 18 is that long-awaited time when you become legal. You can do all the things you once hoped or dreamed to do throughout your childhood.

It is as if a door has been opened to a whole new world of fun. Except for this time, it’s a grownup, used-to-be-taboo kind of fun, which makes it that much more exhilarating and scary. [Read: How to grow up and stop acting like a child]

All the things you can do when you’re 18

This is an exciting and liberating time. Once you’re 18, you’re longer bogged down by being underage, for some things, anyway.

But, with that, you gain a lot of responsibilities too. Yes, you have a new level of freedom, but along with that, a burden of making the right choices.

Mistake are no longer swept under the rug as juvenile or childish. The choices you make from here on out truly impact your life.

It can be hard to have all that change overnight. You all of a sudden need to find this balance between having independence, freedom and being responsible.

There are a lot of things you can do when you’re 18. Sure, you’ve thought about a lot of them, but probably not all of them. Take it from someone who turned 18 ten years ago. There is a lot you haven’t considered.

This list is a long one. Being 18 changes a lot. Some of those things are exciting while others can be intimidating. So, it is always best to be prepared for the good, the bad, and the scary. [Read: 12 lessons you should learn to have a better life]

Things you can do when you’re 18

Being 18 can be loads of fun. You are probably still in high school, or maybe college and you have a lot of time to explore. You can do some fun and exciting things you’ve never been able to do without the presence of an adult.

But, before you hit the ground running with all the fun you’re going to have now that you’re 18, there are a lot of other things that come with being 18 that you need to consider. Acquaint yourself these things you can do now that you’re 18.

1. Ditch your curfew and drive all night

That road trip you’ve always wanted to do with your friends? You can do that now. With your adult driver’s license, you can drive all night and not worry about getting in trouble.

Sure, your parents can’t call the cops on you, but you can still get in trouble if you live at home. This is one of those balance things I was talking about earlier. Just because you can drive off and feel free, doesn’t mean you have no rules.

If you want to take a road trip, tel your parents where your’e headed and keep in touch. Don’t text and drive, get enough rest, and take plenty of breaks. Having fun isn’t about going wild. [Read: 7 life lessons you will learn on an awesome road trip]

2. Get a tattoo or a piercing

Your parents don’t want you to get a tattoo? No problem. Being 18 means you are responsible for your own decisions, and that includes what you want to do to your body.

With that being said, living with your parents usually means you live by their rules. Sure, they may not be able to force you to get to your tattoo removed, but they can kick you out or make you pay rent.

You can get a tattoo or piercing, but should you? Think about what you’ll ant 10 or 20 years from now. Permanence isn’t a common idea to teenagers, which you still are. So, be sure you think really hard about that tattoo or piercing you’ve been dying to have before you go all in.

3. Donate blood or an organ

You can finally be a responsible adult who helps the community. Well, sort of. At 18, you are now old enough to donate blood, which is awesome because each time you go in to donate, you can save three lives. And you can also become an organ donor.

This is something really amazing you can do for humanity. You can feel good about it and know it helped someone, multiple someones. [Read: 10 simple ways to be a more socially conscious person]

4. Get into extreme sports

Being 18 opens the door to tons of adventures, including skydiving and bungee jumping. Things you used to need a parent’s signature for are now at your disposal.

If you think riding Six Flags’ Kingda Ka is exciting, wait until you jump out of a plane to skydive. Who knows, you might even find that this is something you really enjoy doing. Again, be sure to do your research. Extreme sports require the signature of an adult for a reason. You’re taking a risk.

5. Buy fireworks

Say goodbye to having to ask your folks or bribe older kids to buy you fireworks, because you can do that yourself now if you live in a state that allows them. Confidently strut straight into the fireworks store and buy all the pyrotechnics you want.

But, be careful. Follow the rules. Do it in an open field, and make sure your municipality allows them before you start setting them off. [Read: How to BE and BEHAVE like an adult]

6. Buy spray paint

Whether you aspire to be a graffiti artist or *more likely* just need some spray paint for a school project or at-home craft, you can now legally buy the stuff in stores without having to have a parent with you.

This may not seem all that exciting. You probably didn’t even think about it until now, I know I didn’t.

7. Buy cigarettes or tobacco

While buying cigarettes and other tobacco products used to be illegal, being 18, means that option is open in some states. But, there is a reason many states increased the age to 21.

At 18, you still may not be making the smartest decisions. I’m sure you know that smoking is a health hazard at any age. It causes cancer, heart and lung diseases, and more. It also leads to a nasty cough, early signs of aging, bad breath, and more.

Again, just because you can buy cigarettes, it doesn’t mean you should. [Read: Top 15 worst habits that women hate in men]

8. Sue someone

Another upside to being 18 is that you can now file a lawsuit against another person. Prior to 18, you could only sue with the help of another person who is of legal age like your parent or guardian.

Now, you can go to court, sign all the documents necessary, and even hire your own lawyer. The downside is that you can get sued, too. So, enjoy all your time outside the courtroom. Being involved in a lawsuit is not all it’s cracked up to be on TV.

9. Go to adult jail

Okay, another serious thing about being 18 is that you really do have to be responsible for your own actions and decisions. If you get into any legal trouble, you’ll be tried as an adult and receive the full arm of the law.

This means you have to pay taxes, bills, drive safe and think about the consequences of your actions. Once you’re 18, the cops won’t be bringing you home to mom and dad after a night of drinking, but instead, you’ll be sleeping it off in the drunk tank. [Read: When does a man become emotionally mature?]

10. Be on a jury

Another legal responsibility you can now expect to take on is that you can be called for jury duty. You will need to show up at a certain date and time and be as unbiased as you can be.

This is can be quick, but can also be very important. You could be making a decision about someone’s life. It is a big responsibility and burden to many. You may even find this experience exciting and enlightening. But, no matter how you see it, it is a big deal.

11. Enlist or be drafted

Being 18 also means you can now join the armed forces or be drafted. Sure, you can’t drink alcohol, but you can go into the Army, which is an even bigger commitment. This is a huge decision.

That signing bonus may seem enticing, but consider what this means. Whether it’s the Air Force, Army, Marines, or Navy, you can now serve your country. This is honorable and noble, but also a big risk. [Read: What its like to be with someone in the military]

12. Be a stripper or go to a strip club

Now that you’re of legal age and are your own boss when it comes to making your own decisions, you can make money in any way you want *as long as it’s legal*. If for you that means stripping, more power to you. Own your sexuality and use to it make that money.

If you’re more of a watcher than a performer, you can just sit back and enjoy because now you can go to a strip club. Woohoo! [Read: The girl’s guide to strip clubs and female strippers]

13. Try your luck at the lottery

Being 18 opens you up to many opportunities to make money. That includes trying your luck at the lottery. You can buy a ticker every day, play some scratch-offs for fun, or even give them as gifts to other adults.

While you can’t hit the casino tables or slot machines just yet, you can at least try your luck with the lottery. It may not be as fun as Vegas, but even winning 20 bucks on a scratch-off is exciting at the moment. Good luck!

14. Work more hours

Being 18 means you can have limitless fun if you choose. But, it also means there are a lot fewer limits on how often you can work.

This means you can work for more than the given hours without any legal restrictions, other than humanitarian ones. This means more money in your pocket. That money also means you have more access to things that require it. [Read: 10 tried and tested ways to become a better leader at work]

15. Break the bank

Well, at least open a bank account first. Now that you’re an adult, you can open a bank account under your own name and put all your hard-earned overtime money in it. That is, if you haven’t used it all up on tattoos, piercings, travel, the lottery, or the strip club.

Being 18 means you need to consider your money. Sure, you can make as much as you want, but what will you do with it? [Read: Money can’t buy love? – Are you an idiot?]

16. Write a check

This is definitely one of the most boring things you can do now that you’re 18. There aren’t really a lot of things that can make you feel more like a grownup than carrying a checkbook around and writing a check for payment. Enough said.

Although, this isn’t the most common occurrence with everything being digital now, but still, it’s an option.

17. Get a credit card

You can now also get your own credit card, which is either a perk or a problem, depending on your spending and paying habits. Sure, you can open a credit card and invest in a laptop for school. But you can also open one without considering your future.

This is a great time to start a good credit history. Use your card for essentials like groceries or gas and pay it down every month. But, having that credit available can be tempting. Being 18 and having access to that money means you can also go into debt and create bad credit, which greatly impacts your future. [Read: How to stop fighting over money in a relationship]

18. Buy a car

You might already have a car, but now that you’re 18, you can buy one that’s completely your own. You no longer need someone to co-sign a loan. Now, you can’t rent a car if yours is in the shop, but owning one is more exciting anyway.

19. Find your independence

You can also feel more independent now that you’re 18 because you can now *finally* get a place of your own. Odds are, you’ll be living at home with the folks for a while longer, but if you are itching to get out and can afford it, the world is your oyster.[Read: 9 important habits you need to be more independent]

20. Adopt a child

Now that you’re 18 you can legally adopt a child. If you are feeling responsible and grown-up enough, that is great. But, any decent agency probably wouldn’t approve a single 18-year-old to have the parental rights to a child, but it isn’t impossible.

You might want to start with babysitting or working with foster kids to build up a resume.

21. Pawn something

If you’re running out of cash with all the grownup fun you’ve been having, well, there’s some good news—you can now pawn something to get you by. Again, make smart choices. You can pawn your old coin collection from childhood, but taking something from a family member to pawn is not only uncool, it is illegal.

Also, pawning isn’t always the best way to make money. Get quotes from different places, and never accept the first offer.

22. Change your name

If you grew up hating your name or being teased about it, you can put an end to that now. You can change your awful name to something cooler or just simpler.

Sure, picking the name King Awesome may seem hilarious, but maybe just taking your mom’s maiden name is a better bet.

23. Vote

Another very important right, maybe the most important, is that you now have is the ability to vote. You’re now deemed old enough to make your own educated decisions, so you can voice your opinions on who you want to be elected for office.

Don’t overlook this one. The world changes based on who is in office and your vote does count. Really do your research and consider all the candidates. Who offers the most for the future you want to live in? [Read: Can you date someone so unlike you?]

24. Get married

You can now tie the knot because you’ve reached legal age. Want to marry your high school sweetheart? Go for it.

Some people who get married right out of high school are happy 40 years later. But, that is definitely the exception, not the rule. So, think long and hard about this one. Do you want a divorce under your belt before your 21st birthday? [Read: What is the right age to get married?]

25. Buy porn

Aside from the perk of now being able to watch adult-rated movies, you can now also buy porn at an old-fashioned shop or subscribe to a porn site. You can also simply walk into an adult shop and just buy all the sex toys and other material you want, no questions asked, although you could get some questionable looks.

26. Drink outside the US

Sure, the US drinking age is 21, but most other countries are down to 18. So, go off to Italy and have some wine with a delicious pasta meal. I’m not saying this is why you should travel, but it does help you figure out your drink limit before coming back to the states. [Read: Why you should travel as much as you can]

27. Use a meat slicer

This is random and weird and very specific. But, if you’ve ever dreamed of running a deli, you can. Until you’re 18 you can’t use that giant slicer behind the counter, but now you can slice all the meats and cheese that your heart desires.

28. Get vaccinated

One of the best things you can do when you’re 18 is consent to your vaccines. You can get vaccinated for COVID-19, the flu, and anything else you may be missing from childhood. You can thank science by protecting yourself and others. What a wonderful world it is.

When you’re 18 you can legally have consensual sex with another adult. When you are under 18 you are not legally mature enough to give consent in many states. At 18, decision-making is considered mature enough to be in an adult relationship. [Read: How to have safe sex everytime]

30. Book a hotel

Until now, your name could not be used to book a room. But as of your 18th birthday, you can get a hotel for prom, for a relaxing weekend getaway with another adult, or just chill out with some room service on your own.

[Read: 13 ways to be a better person]

So there you goall the things you can do when you’re 18 are laid out in front of you. Which are you going to take advantage of?

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