The Life Of An Only Child

The Life Of An Only Child

Being an only child is an entirely unique experience that very few people understand.

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"You're so lucky!"

"I wish I was you!"

"So you get everything you want, right?"

These are the types of comments I frequently receive when I tell people I'm an only child. Through my interactions with others, I have also learned that being an only child is a rare commodity.

I very seldom meet someone else that is an only child. Most of my friends or just people I've met over the years seem to have at least one sibling, whether they are blood-related or step-siblings, everyone seems to have at least one.

That's also perfectly okay,

I'm not saying there should be more only children, it's just something I have noticed over time. Anyway, being an only child is definitely an experience all in its own, and sometimes, I think it's hard for people to understand what it's really like.

Being an only child really isn't bad, at least I don't believe so anyway.

Some people think only children are overly sheltered and end up being weird and awkward people in their adult life. Now, I'm not going to say I am never weird or awkward because I most definitely can be, but so can everyone else. I don't think I am any more weird or awkward than someone growing up with ten siblings.

I will say, however, in my personal experience, being an only child made me become very close with my family. I would assume all only children become somewhat close to their parents because you're all each other have, give or take some pets or if you have extended family living with you. With that being said, becoming close with your parents also isn't a bad thing. I love how close I am with my parents and I wouldn't change my relationship with them for anything.

When I was growing up, I was always stuck by my mom's side. You know how some kids like to wander off from their parents and explore things for themselves? I wasn't like that at all. This is probably from being around my parents most of the time and I knew I was safe with them. So yeah, I was a little shy and stayed close to my mom as a little kid, but I don't think that's all that terrible.

Also, I should mention I still liked playing with kids my own age. If I knew I was going to hang out with a friend, that was a huge deal for me. I remember I would always get so excited knowing I could see and play with someone my own age. As one can see, being an only child doesn't necessarily mean you're incredibly shy and awkward around others. For me, it just made getting to see my friends that much more special, because I didn't get to play with other kids whenever I wanted.

I get the first two comments most often when I tell people I am an only child. People always say something along the lines of me being lucky and them wishing they were me, but I never know what to say to these comments.

Am I really lucky for being an only child?

I don't know; that's subject to people's opinions. I do know, however, that I am lucky for having an amazing family. My parents and grandparents were and still are my rocks growing up and I am beyond thankful for them. With that in mind, that's why I really don't know what to say to people when they tell me I am lucky for being an only child because it's the only thing I know. It's hard to imagine yourself in a completely different situation and thinking if you're better off one way or the other (like me thinking if I had siblings).

In conclusion, I hope I have informed you a little more about what it's like being an only child.

Personally, I can't imagine growing up any differently. I like being an only child and experiencing life a little differently from most people. Being an only child is definitely a completely unique experience than growing up with siblings, but it's not a bad one.

Some people even tell me that they feel sorry for me, for not having any siblings, when that's not really necessary. As I said before, I can't imagine my life being any different and I like how it is, so I don't need people telling me they feel sorry for me, because I'm fine with it. It's difficult for people to understand things they don't have any personal experience with, and I understand that.

But at the same time, try not to make assumptions about someone else's life because they could like it just how it is.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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