Everyone has a 21st birthday, but not everyone really knows how to turn 21. I can hear you laughing and saying, “What, do I need training?” And the answer is yes. Yes you do.

It all starts with waking up. If you don’t wake up you’ll never make it to your birthday. And it doesn’t like to be kept waiting.

Being obsessed with punctuality, I don’t usually have this problem, but if you’re the kid who has to massage his calves in class because you woke up late and were forced to speed walk — because everyone knows running is an invitation to be ridiculed — you might want to set more than one alarm.

I forgot to mention that all this waking up business doesn’t actually apply to your birthday per se, but the day before. The key is to act like it’s your birthday the day before and start partying early, so when the clock strikes midnight, it’s time to start the second birthday. Don’t worry about all the pressure of partying, though. The second one is really just a hangover. And you won’t have to set any alarms — nausea and headaches will take their place.

This whole idea of celebrating my birthday the day prior came to me when I realized my birthday fell on a Sunday. Aside from the fact that nobody parties on a Sunday, it is also the Lord’s day — and I don’t like to share.

Considering these facts, I decided to move Jillian’s day and have my party Saturday night. And so Saturday became Jillian’s day. And Jeremy’s (my twin brother) day. I apologize for my poor twin protocol.

And of course that meant my — cough, our — birthday was officially changed to Saturday as well.

Anyway, the next step after waking up is making yourself look good. Yeah, I know, some people try to look good every day, but don’t be so vain. You’re really gonna look good on somebody else’s birthday? Inconsiderate bitch.

After you put makeup on your hair and gel your face, it’s time to pull on your earrings and put in your dress. Oh sorry, I’m drunk already.

That’s the next step. Party time. Your good friends will come a lot earlier than the indicated party time and you’ll have to entertain them. Because you are turning 21 and all your conversational ability and sense of humor have eroded due to tides of illicit alcohol, you are forced to start drinking early.

Once card games commence, more people will begin coming through your door. Smirks will spread across your friends’ faces as you start introducing old high school friends to each other; they must be thinking about what a great party this is.

Once you have the perfect concoction of old friends and new, you’re ready to have a good time. And this is where I must leave you. Alcohol writes the rules from here.

Oh, and tomorrow morning, don’t forget to check Facebook. That kid who always wore his shirt backwards in the fourth grade hopes your birthday is awesome.

Wait, what do you mean, “is” awesome? Don’t you mean, “was”? Oh right, it’s happening again. The second birthday.