Oh hey, Life in Labels. As you may have heard, I recently graduated. If you’re wondering where I’ve been, here’s an update:
After I finished finals in early May, I headed off to Myrtle Beach to experience the most sacred of college traditions: Beach Week.
Then, I wore the “honors of Honor” and graduated, finally.
After graduation, I went to Spain with my little brother (and only sibling), which makes me the oldest child. This is a photo of Michael and I at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.
Being the oldest is interesting. I’m a people pleaser by nature, which I think comes from years of wanting to make my parents proud. I care a lot more about what my parents think about my choices than my little brother does.
Before I go farther delving into what being the oldest entails, my mother would want me to mention that my parents had a hard time having kids. They were married 10 years before I was born, and they desperately wanted children. Because of this, my parents coddled me more than most. I was born prematurely, and in their eyes (and also from a medical perspective), a miracle. As such, my feet didn’t touch the ground for an entire year. (Yes, I’ve worked this all out in therapy…just kidding.) Because of this, I grew up very aware of what was expected of me.
My brother, also a miracle in medical terms, experienced a different sort of pressure. I was given so much attention (see: helicopter parents) that I strove to meet high expectations. As a first born, I have a sort of inborn internal motivation for “perfection.” Michael grew up a little more under the radar, and only had to face the same expectations when I went away for college (or so I’ve heard). When I left, the spotlight was on him, and he was happier in the days in which he could avoid such scrutiny. I’m certain he was not interested in any sort of comparison between the two of us. Michael is much more laid back than I am, and approaches “success” in a less Type-A way. He’s successful in his own right, but I struggled with perfectionism. As such, he is a generally happy kid, and I’m a ball of stress found frequently banging my head against the wall.
There are certainly good qualities that are attributed to first born children. An article published in Time Magazine in 2007 quotes:
“Firstborns do more than survive; they thrive. In a recent survey of corporate heads conducted by Vistage, an international organization of ceos, poll takers reported that 43% of the people who occupy the big chair in boardrooms are firstborns, 33% are middle-borns and 23% are last-borns. Eldest siblings are disproportionately represented among surgeons and M.B.A.s too, according to Stanford University psychologist Robert Zajonc. And a recent study found a statistically significant overload of firstborns in what is—or at least ought to be—the country’s most august club: the U.S. Congress. “We know that birth order determines occupational prestige to a large extent,” says Zajonc. “There is some expectation that firstborns are somehow better qualified for certain occupations.”"
Thanks, birth order.
PS: In celebration of the upcoming final Harry Potter movie, I’m happy to share that J.K. Rowling was a first born. Obviously, such a genius had to be, amiright?