This Stage

I may be the youngest of five, but research would say, due to the substantial gap between my closest sibling and I, I grew up more like a firstborn, more like an only child. My older siblings may argue I'm the typical spoiled youngest of the family, but on the other side I probably have a few 'oldest child traits' as well. Maybe it's no coincidence that my oldest brother and I were the wild ones of the family. Maybe, had my mom had me two years after Betsy, like the spacing of the rest of the kids, I would have been nice and normal like my older sisters. Or maybe, as mom always says, she should have had a 6th...maybe that would have helped tone down the crazy 5th child of hers.

But I've digressed. My point is not to psychoanalyze birth order and how Emily came to be.

My point is that I've spent life a tad singled out in my family. Always behind the rest. Always in a different stage of life than my siblings. Seeing as my brother was starting college when I was in the first grade, this was unavoidable. And really, it will always be this way. Even when I join the rest of them in the married/families stage (assuming that is ever the case), I'll still be in the younger family stage while they've moved to middle-aged, and so on. And this is when the tables turn...when suddenly being the young one is fun and exciting. Suddenly I'm not dying to jump ahead to where my siblings are. I'm no longer sneaking into Sara's room to try on her jewelry, longing to be in high school. Now she's the one commenting on my fun jewelry as she dresses her 3 boys for church, living life immersed in legos and toy animals.

I spent this past weekend with Sara and her boys. I always love visiting Sar - mainly because she's always great to be with, but also because I enjoy the area they live in...the narrow streets with quaint cape-cods, as well as rather large houses, full of character. It isn't much further south, but it still feels like it has a little southern charm and the temperature always seems to be a few degrees warmer than here.

At one point Sara and I just laughed about how different our lives are. I remarked how she has almost no time to herself with rowdy boys commanding her attention, which sounds painfully exhausting to me. And even though some of my freedom may sound fun, she can't really imagine going back to the independence of the working/single stage. The great thing is, in the end, we both honestly remarked how happy we are with our lives.

I told Sara, being with her for a weekend made me realize that I really should appreciate this stage of life. It makes me think of one of the stories in Bittersweet, when Shauna Niequist talks about using your 20's to become, to figure out who you are, what you love, travel, and just enjoy life. I've realized I'm doing just that. I'm slowly but surely figuring out who I am. I'm figuring out what I love and what I know I have no interest in and thus making decisions accordingly. I'm traveling. Life is enjoyable. I know this freedom won't always be here, so for now I just want to cherish it.

(Thanks for a fun weekend Sar, love you guys!)

9 comments:

Linda said...

Enjoyed the post and your reflections....poor Nate- with his busy schedule, he doesn't even get mentioned! :)

Amber said...

I relate to so much your shared Em - including the part that our siblings will probably always think of us as the youngest spoiled ones. ; ) I like to say I'm well rounded. : )

And let me tell you - if you have kids someday, when you get together and your siblings kids take care of your kids all weekend, that isn't so bad either. ; )

love ya.

T and M said...

great post, emily. I'm so glad you're enjoying your 20's! Sometimes I can get "single envy", remembering the independence & traveling that happened before kids & married life, but i love where i'm at too-each phase of life is so sweet for different reasons, huh?

Sara Huber said...

So glad you got one last trip in to Cincinnati...love you too!

leah said...

as always, love your post & thoughts. glad you were able to spend some qt with sara and the boys!

:)

Daveana said...

Sounds like a good time Em-

Sarah said...

Great post! I love my life right now, but SERIOUSLY, like you said, enjoy this time!!!

Betsy said...

I've found that in most life "stages" people older than you or already out of that stage will say "enjoy this stage" - so it is not only advice you'll hear now when you're single and unattached, but also when you're first married, or when you have young kids, or I'm guessing even beyond that...

Molly said...

There's a lot of truth in all this. And some topics I love to talk about: birth order and how that affects us, and the various stages in life and what they mean and represent and how they shape our opinions and strong views on life. Thanks for sharing your contemplations, and I'm glad to hear someone enjoying her stage of life and not longing for another one. Love, Molly