When your sister is eleven years older you gain greater insight, tangible lessons, and the combination of a best friend/second mom. I have learned and experienced so much through watching how she pursues life and love, so I boiled what I learned down to ten of the most important things she has taught me.
1. No man is more important than family, and the one that is will fit in with ours.
By watching some of her relationships, including going to New Mexico to be with a boy, I have learned that family wins over everything. Now that she is engaged, I can clearly see that the one, the one that we all dream of having, will love our family just as much as he loves her.
2. People always think we are twins, so we might as well embrace it!
Yeah, we do look alike. But little do most people know, we have different biological moms. I always think about the irony that we are completely different ethnicities on our mothers' sides, and the only DNA we share is our dad's. Since we are so close, we just roll with it and have learned to love that we look so much alike!
3. She will always see me as "her child" in one way or another.
When I was little, she would take me out shopping or to dinner, and she would get the comment, "Aww your little girl is so cute!" so she adopted that way of thinking. Now, she loves to give me motherly advice, and it is welcomed. I know that she has experienced most of what I am going through, and has the best advice on how to get through it.
4. Never be afraid to speak your mind and opinions.
Even though my sister and I are best friends, we have very different personalities. I have quieter tendencies but will be quick as a whip if I get mad enough, whereas she is very loud and outgoing. I have always had an issue speaking my mind and voicing my opinions, but I have learned from my sister that speaking your opinions is crucial to becoming respected and loved. Inversely, I think I have taught her how to hold her tongue and not necessarily give her opinion on every issue.
5. You're never too good to keep your first job, even after you get a degree.
Through my little 8-year-old eyes, I saw her stop working at my aunt's restaurant to get her Bachelor's in New Mexico, and it made me sad. But, 2 years later, she was back to get her Master's at Point Loma, and returned to work at the restaurant. Even now that she has her "big girl job" as a school counselor, she is still working at the family restaurant. This has taught me that you can have all of those degrees and that good job, but your first job is where you have your roots, and those tips are the best money you'll ever make.
6. You don't have to listen to just one type of music.
In her car, a shuffle playlist will go from George Strait to 50 Cent to Mariah Carey. Because of this, I knew all of the hit songs growing up, and today my shuffle varies just as much as her playlists do. Everyone always tries to place country music listeners in one box, rap listeners in another, and rock listeners in yet another, but what happens when you like all three of them? She taught me that it doesn't matter, and you like what you like.
7. You can never have enough school supplies.
Seriously, this is something that I think I have inherited from her and I have no clue how. We both love the start of school because of back to school shopping, but it's not about clothes for us. It's about the discounts on pens and notebooks that make us happy. It's kind of weird, but it's us.
8. You will get through heartbreak.
She has gone through her fair share of heartbreak, and I have learned that no matter how hard it seems to be, you will persevere and find that special guy. She taught me to never give up on finding the guy of my dreams. Watching first hand how she dealt with this issue showed me the proper way to move on and eventually get engaged to the right guy.
9. You can lean on her during every hard time.
We have been through losing our dad together and many other things that have brought us closer, and now we have an unbreakable bond unique to our lives. I know that I can call her whenever I need to talk or cry to her about anything. She truly is my best friend, and no matter how far apart we go and how long we go without talking, we never miss a beat.
10. Never forget to laugh.
She is one of the most serious people I know but also one of the most carefree. She always knows how to have a good time, and she knows how to pick me up and make me laugh when I'm feeling down. The most important thing to the both of us is laughing and smiling and having a good time, and we always do when we're together.
These things I've learned from my sister are crucial to how I grew up and how I live my life now. No matter what, she is there at the drop of a hat with a joke, lesson, or story, and for that I will be forever grateful.