06 Mar Hey Soul Sister
“You got a later curfew than I did!”, “Why is it okay for you to start X, Y, and Z before I did?”, “You’re the favourite”, “I used to get in way more trouble than you do” … and the list goes on.
As the younger sister, I’ve heard it all. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that being the first-born comes with its challenges. They were the ones who had to pave the path of childhood, transition into teenage years, endure the tough ‘first-time’ parenting experiences; they were the guinea pigs for it all. Kudos to you, older sis!
Yet, with all this admiration and appreciation comes a bit of frustration. Many people do not realize younger siblings experience a whole other slew of pressures. It may seem like we’ve been living a ‘scot-free’ lifestyle all these years, but there are some things we youngins’ deal with that our siblings don’t.
Firstly, we must find the balance between trying to emulate our oh-so-perfect elder while also trying to be our own person. It isn’t easy following in their footsteps, while trying to create our own path at the same time! I have lived in constant fear of measuring up to my older sister, while also not wanting to be compared to her too often. For example, I followed in her footsteps by attending the same CEGEP (college, for those who don’t understand Quebec…it’s okay though, neither do I) for one year before also coming to Queen’s (keep in mind, this was after graduating from the same school we both went to for 12 years). All in all, it may seem as though I haven’t put much thought into my choices; I was always worried that from an outside perspective, it would look like I just wanted to copy my sister.
Over the years, to cope with this feeling, I have tried to remind myself of all the things I do differently. For instance, my sister went to CEGEP in sciences, a very different experience than my Commerce choice. Secondly, despite her best efforts to convince me that Econ is “actually a good time”, I chose Psychology. She is a determined, adventurous, and spontaneous soul; she did exchange in Singapore, has been skydiving multiple times, and traveled Europe alone. I am more of a home-body. Spontaneity is not my strong-suit, so I find adventure in more familiar ways. For example, I decided to get a job here at Queen’s, something my older sister was never into doing. Also, instead of travelling to unknown destinations, I chose to spend my summers as a camp counsellor, which also came with its own set of obstacles.
I’ve always struggled with the worry of not being my own person. I’ve always been taught that individuality is a virtue, but also to embody my more experienced sister. When I was younger, it was harder and more confusing to balance the two, but when I look at the big picture, I am by no means a carbon copy of my older sis. Instead, I have emulated her values and passions in my own way, keeping her advice close to heart. I look up to her (even though I am a foot taller….sorry not sorry), but still pave my own path. At the end of the day, growing up with a sister by my side is a blessing; I feel lucky and humbled when people tell me I resemble her…just not when it’s all the time, you know?