In my sister's shadow
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20-04-2013, 08:11 PM
In my sister's shadow
When I was very young, I thought my sister was the smartest person in the world. She had all the answers and I had nothing but questions. This didn't change for me when I approached my teen years, but it meant something different for me. She was determined, hard-working, and ambitious. I was, uh well, am a bit of a late bloomer. So, it was difficult not to constantly compare myself to my sister. I always saw her as a difficult act to follow.

This negatively influenced my choices. We would've attended the same university, but I couldn't stand to be in the same town. I knew I would constantly check on her success to see how I measured up. It was a bad move because I did that anyway and her school might've been a better fit for me. Then I graduated and moved a series of less-than-stellar jobs. My sister was fighting her way tooth and nail up the competitive ranks of academia. Even her boyfriends seemed more successful than my girlfriends. At every turn, I saw her doing things a 100x better. Rather than feeling motivated to compete, I held myself to her unreasonable standards and gave up at everything after my first try. I graduated with a piss-poor GPA and I've worked a series of lackluster jobs since.

Recently, things have been a little better. I'm still doing work that that doesn't pass for a career (see my profile), but it's a full-time deal with good benefits. I'm attending a community college, but I'm only taking one course (Spanish) per semester as a special credit student. (I bombed Latin while earning my BA, so I figured I'd try to redeem myself.) I also started an antidepressant last year and left a relationship last month that was probably not good for my emotional well-being. I still don't feel like my life is quite where I need it to be, but I don't lie awake at night counting my regrets.

My sister earned her PhD last year and got married to a really great guy. They promptly moved from North Carolina to the Midwest so she could take a job at a university as an assistant professor. We're not really close. I don't call her too often, but we're nicer to each other than we were in college and high school. The thing that really surprises me, is that I feel proud of her now. I mean, I always felt proud of her, but now that feeling isn't tainted with envy. Some local news stations in her new city interviewed her about Chechnya yesterday when the Boston marathon bomber was arrested and I was so excited to show the video to my coworkers.

Is this was growing up in your late 20s feels like? Why couldn't this happen 10 years ago when I needed it? Has anyone else here stuggled with living up to someone else's success?
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20-04-2013, 09:30 PM
RE: In my sister's shadow
I went through the same thing with my older brother growing up. Pretty much just how you described it. Except now that we're all grown up, it doesn't really matter anymore. He didn't turn out to be quite as successful as your sister. Still more successful than me, but meh.

Things turned out alright for me. I still haven't become a rock god like I alway knew I would. But I have a great family. A job that I kind of enjoy doing most of the time. Things are falling into place and I find that my patience and appreciation for what I have continues to grow as I get older.

Just concentrate on trying to enjoy where you're at, and hopefully where you're at will become a source of joy for you.

Good luck!

"It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.”
― نجيب محفوظ, Sugar Street
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21-04-2013, 12:06 AM
RE: In my sister's shadow
Ugh, I compare myself to my classmates all the time. It's a completely toxic way of seeing your progress. There's a lot of talk about how you should only compare yourself to your previous self, and how envy can be good if it motivates you to get better, but it's a long way from knowing that rationally to actually incorporating that sort of advice into your life and attitudes.

Here's some practical advice: talk to me! My first language is Spanish and my English is getting rusty. We talk and everyone wins.

But then again, I'm drunk, so what do I know.

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21-04-2013, 05:40 PM
RE: In my sister's shadow
(21-04-2013 12:06 AM)DancingSkeletons Wrote:  But then again, I'm drunk, so what do I know.

You know English pretty well if you were drunk when you wrote this.
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21-04-2013, 08:07 PM
RE: In my sister's shadow
Haha, I really hate typos and I re-read everything like 5 times. Even when drunk.

In all soberness tho, how long have you been studying Spanish? I know it can be complicated for English native speakers, so the drunk offer is still up if you need help Big Grin

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23-04-2013, 07:29 PM
RE: In my sister's shadow
(21-04-2013 08:07 PM)DancingSkeletons Wrote:  Haha, I really hate typos and I re-read everything like 5 times. Even when drunk.

In all soberness tho, how long have you been studying Spanish? I know it can be complicated for English native speakers, so the drunk offer is still up if you need help Big Grin

I've only been studying Spanish for a year. Like most Americans my age, I learned a little Spanish in high school and forgot almost all of it. I switched from Spanish to Latin the next semester because my teacher left and a new teacher from Spain took his place. I switched after one day because the other kids were brutal with her. I knew she wouldn't be able to teach me anything because she would be too busy deflecting comments about her accent. I hated Latin, but that was because we were taught via satellite. I didn't have a flesh and blood teacher to ask questions.

I appreciate your offer. I could probably use some extra help. My teacher is very bright Cuban-American woman. Unfortunately, she is also very busy. She often tells me that I shouldn't be afraid of sounding stupid. I know she's right, but it's still difficult for me to practice speaking Spanish.
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24-04-2013, 04:48 PM
RE: In my sister's shadow
Yikes, spanish accent. There's nothing inherently bad about it, but the pronounciation is so different from all of Latin America. And it doesn't help that I associate it to the priest in my old church. Hang-ups, I know.

In any case, feel free to add me on skype at oomanzanitaoo. I promise I won't tell anyone if you sound stupid.

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01-05-2013, 02:51 PM (This post was last modified: 02-05-2013 08:59 PM by Lienda Bella.)
RE: In my sister's shadow
Good luck with college. Even failing doesn't make it a total waste. Chase
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