I Grew Up As An Only Child And I Wouldn't Change A Thing

I Grew Up As An Only Child And No, I Don't Wish I Had A Bunch Of Siblings

Because I didn't have siblings, my house became the gathering spot for me and my best friends. I always had a plus one. And that's how they became family.

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Being an only child almost always sparks an interesting conversation. Oftentimes people who are only children simply can't imagine having siblings and those with siblings can't imagine living in a pit of loneliness. What they don't know is that pit of loneliness isn't actually that lonely and involves a lot of quiet, self-exploration, and being the star of the family unit. Sounds like a party to me! I feel like whenever I tell people I'm an only child they give me a look of pity as if they are imagining me pacing a dark hallway during the Victorian era with a china doll as my only friend.

First of all, the hallway would have been very well lit because my mother is an interior decorator, but I digress. Whenever I tell people I'm an only child they automatically assume I am spoiled and think too highly of myself. I'm not saying they're totally wrong since I'm currently writing a self-indulgent article and expecting people to read it because they are sure to be intrigued by the fabulousness I've been radiating since day one.

Yes, my pink pastel childhood bedroom did house a canopy bed with faux roses strung about the top and a dollhouse my dad built for me (and installed electricity into). Yes, I had the super sweet 16 complete with a ballgown, tiara and matching pink Hummer Limo. But, I don't think being an only child made me spoiled. I got a lot of things but I never expected them. I worked hard in school even though there were no siblings to compete with. I think I am a pretty good sharer.

Now that I've introduced my only childless to you, I am going to tell you just how ~unique~ MY experience was. You're probably rolling your eyes, but I promise you might understand my life a little better after reading this (I am such an only child, why do I care if you understand my life?). I grew up in a one square mile town, walking school district, no stop light kinda deal. And I loved it. My friends became my family. They are still the family I choose today. I always had playmates because of the small size of my town. I especially needed them because I didn't have that childhood companionship with cousins either GASP

Yep, that's right folks. Not only was I an only child but I was also the only grandchild on both sides of my family. Which means I was also the only niece to all six of my aunts and uncles. I was always kind of bummed out that I didn't get that cousins-opening-presents-together-on-Christmas experience, but because of that, I am so close with my aunts, uncles, and grandparents, just like how not sharing my parents with siblings created my profound relationship with them.

As I got older, I realized I wouldn't be a real aunt until I got married. I am so close with my hometown friends that I am sure I will get to be a fake aunt to their kids, but it isn't the same as blood. I started to be curious about what my relationship would be like with my future younger cousins as every year ticked by without them.

As much as I dreamed about what it would be like when I finally had cousins, I never could have conceived of how much my relationships with them would shape me during my young adult years. When I was 14, my aunts who are twins were due one month apart and I went from having zero cousins to two in a blink of an eye. I couldn't contain my excitement. I felt all the feelings people tell you that you're supposed to feel, but even deeper. I didn't know how much I could instantly love someone or how overwhelmed with selflessness I could be. I didn't know how many things that I'd loved and experienced until I thought about sharing all those things with my Aedan and Daisy.

Three years later when I was 17, our family was blessed with another little girl, the sister to Daisy, Miss Lily. Since I am so much older than them, I feel like more of an aunt or mentor. They inspire me to give them something to look up to. It has been the most beautiful experience for me.

I think who you surround yourself with has a great influence on who you become. For me, I surround myself with my family and friends who are like family. As an aspiring writer, I am crafting an identity and I just don't see how I can express that if I don't give you a little taste of where I came from and the people who make me, me. They've taught me how to love and be loved so well. They're still teaching me things every single day.

When I think of all the people closest to me in my head, I picture every one of their faces meshing into a completed puzzle in my heart. That's really cheesy but I'm being real right now. And I guess my final point is this: I'm an only child but my heart holds a whole lot more than just me.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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8 Reasons I, A Late 90’s Kid, Am So Thankful NOT To Be A Middle Schooler In 2019

2003 is where it’s at.

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Watching middle schoolers in 2019 makes me so thankful I grew up in a time without Instagram and Tik Tok. I enjoyed my ugly, awkward, and braces filled middle school years.

1. No Instagram 

Gmail buzz was the biggest of my worries. I would come home and listen to 107.5 The River on my radio while taking selfies on photo booth (that never left my computer). I am so thankful I didn’t have to deal with posting selfies and looking up to Instagram models.

2. I was allowed to be ugly

I have not seen an ugly middle schooler in 2019. We all have our bad middle school photos full of peace signs and leggings under skirts. I’m thankful I have those photos to look back and laugh at.

3. Designer clothes weren’t a thing

Gucci belt? More like Justice monkey tee.

4. Disney Channel

I mean, what else is there to say.

5. Jeans and dresses were cool

Jeans and dresses were bomb.com. The easiest and most versatile outfit for any occasion. Paired with clips and a hair wrap.

6. Flip phones with keyboards

Verizon Envy. Pantech Impact. Razor. Chocolate. iPhones have nothing on the sound of clicking as you and your friends sit on the couch and talk about cute boys.

7. Platform flip flops instead of wedges

Juicy platform wedges with a bow. Absolutely stunning. Paired well with gauchos and a skin-tight tee. Easily the hottest outfit. Thank goodness we didn't have to break our ankles in flat form wedges.

8. After school we played outside

Coming home to play outside was literally the most fun. I’d pick a trampoline over making Tik Toks inside any day.

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