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Coming of Age
Traditionally viewed as 'coming of age' birthdays, 18 and 21 are landmarks in a young person's life. While turning 18 is more significant in the eyes of the law, most notably allowing an individual to buy alcohol, a 21st birthday was always held, in years gone by, as the most important milestone.
Today, however, both are notable birthdays. One should, however, 'choose' between the two for large celebrations and more generous birthday presents. It is unrealistic to expect friends and family to go extend their generosity twice in three years.