The 4 Reasons I Am Grateful To Have Grown Up With Older Siblings

The 4 Reasons I Am Grateful To Have Grown Up With Older Siblings

Sorry for getting away with everything you didn't.
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As the youngest of three kids with a five and six-year age gap separating me from my older brothers, there were a lot of times when I felt like an only child; especially the five years I was still in middle and high school and my brothers were away at college. However, looking back on it, I could never actually imagine growing up without sharing the experience with my siblings. So no matter how much I joke about basically being an only child here are the four reasons I will be eternally grateful to have had older siblings in my life while I was growing up.

1. I Learned How To Be Persuasive And Stick-Up For Myself

In any family with more than one child sibling rivalry is bound to be there. There is nothing more inconvenient in the life of a five-year-old girl than being told she can’t watch “Dora the Explorer” because “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” is on. Whether it was fighting over TV shows or about whether or not you could play outside with them, chances are you and your siblings fought. As you grow up, the disagreements don’t stop, you just become better at communicating with one another. Being afraid to voice your argument will get you exactly zero steps closer to what you want, so you also develop a certain degree of persuasiveness. And while a lot of arguments when your little might have tended to turn physical, you will still develop critical communication and persuasion skills via sibling rivalry as the years go on. In a weird way, I personally attribute my current desire to go into practicing law to my past battles with my brothers that consisted of persuading them of what board game we should play next and why it was better than the one they wanted to play. Being six years younger, I won pretty often but not because I had deeply persuasive argument, but just because they just got annoyed with me and gave up. You’re working at an argumentative disadvantage when they've had five-plus more years of schooling than you.

2. They’re The Usually The Best Source Of Homework Help

Even though elementary school you will probably swear to your high school-aged brother or sister that your homework is way harder, by the time you’re in high school you will be eternally grateful that he or she’s done it first. Personally, I struggled with math but my older brother is amazing at it. To this day I’m pretty sure one of the only reasons I passed Pre-Calculus was because I would text my oldest brother pictures of my homework from a different state and he’d call me and we would work through the problems together. That was homework help way better than any textbook explanation could offer me and it was time I got to spend talking to my older brother who I missed but I was too cool to admit it at the time. I hated feeling like an only child while my brothers were away at college and knowing they still had the time to help me out or talk to me for a few minutes was one of the things that made me even more appreciative to have them.

3. They Pave The Way For The Mistakes You Will Make

Any stupid thing that you do later on in life? Chances are they’ve already done it, and they’ve already been punished for it. This means one of two things: you will either have no chance of getting away with it because your parents are expecting it OR you will have every chance of getting away with it because your parents no longer want to deal with it and literally nothing is a shock to them anymore. Being the younger child usually means your parents are way more lax on things they were strict with your siblings about. The limit for what is and is not acceptable has usually already been set, you just have to maintain it.

4. You Will Always Have A Friend To Ask For Advice

As I said earlier, any mistake you make, there is a huge chance your sibling has already done it or has had a friend who has done it, this pretty much makes them a gold-mine or advice. The same goes for most life experiences too, it could be anything, from what kind of AP Classes they recommend taking senior year of high school to them just telling you stories about what they liked most about college and things you should try and do before you graduate. Whatever you need, they usually tend to have a pretty good perspective about it because, growing up in the same household, you tend to have pretty similar life experiences. On top of all this, it’s a pretty safe bet that if you ever needed anything from your siblings, they’d be willing to drop what they’re doing and help you in a heartbeat no matter how annoying it may be. Both of my brothers have at one point or another dropped what they were doing for an entire day just to come watch me row in high school. Over the summer, my parents and I drove eight hours to help my older brother move to an apartment that was ten minutes away from where he was before. Family takes care of each other and that’s why your siblings are the best friends you’ll ever have. All in all, being perpetually babied as the younger sibling can get annoying but eventually you learn to embrace that that’s just how it’s going to be and you probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, to my siblings, sorry about all those times we fought — I really do love you.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Salvo

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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To The Older Sibling I Never Had, I Wish You Were Here To Guide Me

I know you don't exist, and I know you never will, but sometimes I catch myself imagining a life with you in it.

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Starting high school is a terrifying feeling and an insane transition when you don't have anyone to guide you through it. It was a mere 15-step walk to the door, and once I was inside my parents promised me there would be somebody there to help me find my classes, so why did I feel like I was being thrown straight into the gates of hell? I counted down the minutes until we pulled into the school parking lot and dreaded the sound of the car door opening and the anticipated start to the "best four years of my life."

As we were pulling up, I saw a girl who went to the same middle school as I followed her older brother, who was a senior through the front doors as if it had been rehearsed at home. At this moment, I would have given my right foot to walk in her shoes right behind an older brother just this once. Eventually, I just walked right inside.

Unfortunately, this would not be the last of my longing for guidance from the older sibling I've never had.

I get it, I got a B in math. I get it, if I would have spent last Friday night studying instead of out with my friends it is possible that I could have gotten an A. But, what my parents seemed to not get was that life actually does go on even if you get a B on a report card. Time doesn't stop, your dreams don't diminish, and you are still viewed as a fairly competent person.

Luckily for my younger sisters, it seems my parents eventually did get it at the cost of my phone being taken away for three months and my social life ceasing to exist for the rest of that school year. As I spent every Friday night at home studying I longed, for just this once, to have an older sibling who was willing to take this hit for me.

Why did nobody tell me that it's actually more fun to go to school dances with friends than the boy you barely know who is just desperate for some conversation with the opposite sex?

I always wondered why that girl I went to middle school with never took a date to any of our formals or homecomings. Eventually, four homecomings and two proms later, I realized that this was because stumbling through the awkward introductions to family, tolerating the completely posed and overdone photos that would never actually be posted anywhere because you didn't talk outside of this forced interaction, and small talk over fruit punch and loud music was never actually necessary. Of course, I passed this message to my younger sisters and saved them the struggle of finding out for themselves.

Don't even get me started on being the first sibling to have to navigate applying to colleges.

I really could have used you then. I'm convinced there is nothing more difficult than trying to fill out a FAFSA or Common Application with absolutely no guidance or experience. Is my application essay long enough? Should I apply for early or regular admission? What if I don't get accepted anywhere? As selfish as it sounds, I would have given my other foot not to have to find these things out for myself.

I'd trade a lifetime worth of shotgun privileges to have you in my life to help me figure this stuff out.

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