Only Child

"You've made a lot of people proud."

Happy Tuesday, everybody! I recently received a Facebook message from a young girl I met when she was a Sophomore in high school. She congratulated me on my recent commencement as well as telling me how proud she was with everything that I have done. As a twenty one year old, I do have my fair share of crazy escapades and spontaneous late nights. I'm far from perfect. I make mistakes. I can be stubborn. I have a short attention span. But despite everything that I am or am not, I do take one role very seriously and that is the role of being the eldest sibling.

Growing up for nine years, I was practically the only child. Because I had no older siblings or relatives around, I quickly learned that there are some advantages that come with it. First, I worked very well with grown-ups. Every since I was little, I loved talking and listening to people who were older than me. In a way, by spending time with them, I  was able to take some of their life experiences and endurance and apply it to my own. And despite being an introvert, I thoroughly enjoyed human interaction and one-on-one conversations. It's funny because once I made the transition from high school to college, I found that most of the people I work with are indeed much older than I am and it's great.

Being the eldest also meant that I had to learn a lot of things on my own. I taught myself the English alphabet, to tell time, to count my change, to apply for FAFSA, and etc. Because my mother was very bad at styling or anything fashion-related, I learned how to do my own hair and put together different hands-me-down ensemble (Big thanks to my aunt for sending me her daughter's clothes). Oddly enough, I also never craved for my parents' affection or demanded their attention. None of those things were desirable to me. All I wanted was to not be a burden to them, therefore, for the most part, being along was second nature to me. A typical day after elementary school included a Lemony Snicket novel and my Hello Kitty diary. I also found pleasure in attempting to read Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. While I loved the indoors, I also biked, skated, and of course, played with my small red wagon. Looking back, I've realized that I still take a bit of my childhood with me.

Nowadays, I conduct presentations, deliver public speeches, perform on stage, and play with microphones. I still find those who are older than me to be the most fascinating and by exposing myself into the adult world through travels and different internships, I've learned a thing or two about survival and humility. However, since then, I have traded in my books for online articles and research studies, a diary for this blog, and believe it or not, the only time I ever get new clothes is when my mother decides to shop for me (I guess her style ain't too bad, eh?) Just kidding, I love you mom.

Yes, there are plenty of wonderful perks that come with being an only child, but nothing makes me happier than knowing that I have a little booger that keeps me grounded everyday and the coolest part is that he has no idea how big of an impact that he has on me. Yup, I'm talking about my brother, Steven. An extremely exceptional scholar, he keeps me incredibly inspired whenever I look at him. The boy is actually quite different from me. He's rebellious, a risk-taker, and incredibly selfless. At the same time, we also share a number of qualities. We're ambitious, hungry, and we don't stop until we get things done. We're self-starters, innovators, and future entrepreneurs. I look at him and my heart warms up because of all the potential that I see in the little guy (although he is not so little anymore). I look at him and it makes me want to be a better person. To work smarter. To be above the influence. While I can let the this modern culture shape my values and beliefs, I've learned that my actions must speak poise and honesty. I've learned that it's important to maintain a good and healthy body through my life choices in diet and exercise. I know that with the media culture and buzzing celebrities entering rehabilitation or jail, I've furthered aim to  maintain my composure and focus, especially since I'll be venturing out into the world of Hollywood.

Am I afraid? Sure. But fear, in this case, is not necessarily a bad thing. I'm just so grateful for all the warm messages I've received and for everybody who has considered me their role model one point or another. So I genuinely hope I can continue to do what I love and leave my footprints along the way. At the end of the day, all of this is for me, for Steven, and for everyone who believed in such a person.