The Solo Journey

By Hailey Kearns 

Ever since I was young, I always wished to have a sibling; I more specifically wished to have an older sibling. The thought of having someone to look up to and  learn from always enthralled me. I always have and will look up to my older cousins because they are the closest people I have to being older siblings but it will never be the same. I’ve always felt a little out of place in family dynamics because I’m not only the youngest on both sides of the family but also the only one who doesn’t have a sibling companion. Despite this, I stand out for other reasons. 

As an only child, the majority of people assume that you have it best since you don’t have to worry about bickering or competing with other siblings. This stands true however you end up becoming your own worst enemy. Since there is no one else, you constantly feel the need to be the best version of yourself and to always perform at your best. I have taken this as a curse and a blessing. I push myself to constantly improve and succeed but sometimes when I push myself over the edge I crash and burn. The constant cycle of racing yourself around the go-kart track becomes invigorating yet exhausting. Not only that, but knowing that you’re always alone on the track also makes it difficult. I hate loneliness–everyone does–but it feels even heavier when you know that you don’t have a sibling to accompany you. Of course, friends do help but never knowing what it’s truly like to have a bonded connection by blood with someone makes you feel as if loneliness will always haunt you for the rest of your life. 

On the contrary, despite all the negatives, there are an abundance of positives. As an only child, you learn from a young age to be independent. You learn the importance of performing tasks alone and feeling comfortable doing so–therefore aiding you in your future when jobs require you to work independently and possibly make big decisions. In addition, you develop lots of creativity. For example, when I was younger, I found different ways to entertain myself without having to ask my parents or rely on someone else to feed into my bursting energy. I constantly found new ways to play with my toys–making me never face the dreaded fear of boredom.

Even after considering all the negatives and positives, the stigma around being an only child is generally positive. Life as an only child seems almost perfect–but is it? The negatives are severely overshadowed and never seem to reach the light of the media. This leaves the question to ponder: Is the life of an only child truly so gilded after all?