I was talking to a friend recently, who is also an older sibling, about problems they were having with their younger sibling. During the conversation, we started talking about what it means to be the oldest and how hard it can be to feel helpless when the youngest is struggling. While it can be hard being the older sibling, with pressure falling on you to set a good example, I also know that there’s no way I would have it any other way. I am so lucky to have such an incredible brother and I only continue to be more proud of him as he continues to kill it.
Here are a few lessons I have learned as an older brother:
Be the first to say you’re sorry
My brother and I fought when we were younger just like most siblings do. I couldn’t tell you what we fought about now. I just know that it was never more than a day until we were back hanging out, laughing at a stupid movie or playing catch in the drive way. We still have the occasional sports argument about Wake or who is better looking, but we all know that I am better looking so there isn’t really an argument to be had there. The point is, fights are rarely worth it and the quicker you apologize, the quicker you can go back to having fun.
Nothing beats having a sibling
My brother and I are only two years apart so we grew up together. We played golf, went to the pool and had most of the same friends. While this was frustrating at times, there’s nothing I wouldn’t give to go back to those summers where we would just hit balls and go to the pool every day. Or if it were a rainy day, we’d watch a movie that no one else has seen like “Ready to Rumble” or “Who’s Your Caddy?” and quote the whole thing. My friends and I have inside jokes, but it’s different with my brother. We quote more random movies than anyone I know. Sometimes we do it around other people and get blank stares. But who cares? There is no maturity level when I’m with my brother and I don’t have more fun than anyone else.
Sometimes just being there for people is all you can do. And that’s OK
Being there for people is so much more important than you realize. Even if you can’t do anything tangible, just being there to talk or inviting someone out may do more good than you can see at the time. Sometimes it sucks that I can’t do something right at a given moment to fix whatever problem my brother may have, but I’m always there to talk and listen and there is a lot to be said for that. I am so proud of my brother and all that he has worked through to have the success he is having right now. I am more excited for his success than my own and I hope he becomes more successful than me, even if he may not ever be as good looking.
The list could go on and on, but I think that’s good for now. If you are an older sibling, be thankful for the lessons it teaches you. Set a good example for your younger siblings. Watch stupid movies. Fight, apologize and go do something stupid. And don’t take any moment for granted, even the fights. You won’t live in the same house forever, you may not be able to see each other as frequently as you may like, but know that they miss you as much as you miss them. They will be there for you like no one else can because they know you better than anyone. Cherish that relationship. My brother is my best friend.