Whenever people ask me how many siblings I have, they always seem surprised when I say that I'm an only child. "Aren't you lonely?" is the response that I usually get, and my answer is no, I'm not. In fact, I love being an only child.
For the selfish reasons, I get both of my parents' attention, but that's not the main reason why I enjoy being the only child. Well, I guess it's one of the main ones, but that's besides the point. Being an only child has given me so much freedom. While I sometimes do wish that I had an older sibling to look up to or to go to for advice, but a majority of the time, I love the independence of being an only child. By independence, I mean the freedom to find my own path without guidance and to learn from the mistakes that I make on my own.
It's very common for the younger siblings to follow in the footsteps of their older siblings. In fact, three of my cousins from the same aunt are pharmacists, and they all graduated from the same university. You can't get anymore I'll-follow-in-your-footsteps than that. For me, I want to find out whatever it is that I want to find out on my own. If that means making mistakes and temporarily going down the wrong path (as long as it's not too wrong), then so be it. I think this makes life more interesting - more unpredictable.
Not having siblings also puts less pressure on me (to a certain extent). I don't have to live up to an older sibling or set a good example for a younger sibling. Essentially, I don't have to be compared. I also acknowledge that sibling rivalry doesn't always exist to a high degree in some families, but in where they do, it may not always be pleasant. We've all heard of the more reserved older sibling grow jealous of the social butterfly that is the younger sibling who garners the attention of the crowd. As an only child, I don't have to feel this way because there just isn't anyone to be compared to directly.
Being an only child has been quite the experience even though it's something that I don't think about regularly. I've come to really appreciate learning from trial and error and growing on my own. Of course I've been in situations where I could really have used the support of both an older and younger sibling, but I've grown to learn to support myself and to be my own support system especially as a college student and as a young adult.