Saturday, November 15, 2014

On Feeling Left Behind

In mid-September, I'd been sitting at my part-time work's desk and had just logged into my personal e-mail when I saw an e-mail from Younger Sister with this subject line:

"New Keys"

That meant only one thing: She'd bought a house.

Let me explain something about my sister: she wants to check things off her list.  She needs to accomplish things, drive ahead, or she will lose her mind.  It's not that she lacks patience; it's more that she wants to dust her hands together and say, "Ah, that's done!"

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for her.  To a point.  I don't know how good idea it is to put your name and your not-yet-husband's name on the title to a house.  Because there's still no wedding date.  Things seem to be closer to a conclusion on YSF's paperwork, but it's not settled.  And so no one is scandalized, please understand that they're not moving into the same bedroom--he is in the basement apartment and the housemate/good friend with whom she'd been renting a place for the past several years is occupying the bedroom next to YS.

Anyway, as I was saying, I am happy for her.  But I felt a twinge as I read her e-mail and looked at all the photos of their preparations to move in.

The twinge said two things to me.

  1. She's starting to settle into her own place, her own world, with her future husband, with plans for their future, probably their future children's futures, too.
  2. She beat you to getting engaged, she beat you to owning your own home, she'll beat you getting married and having a family, too.  You're going to have nothing in common anymore.  She'll have her friends who are married and/or have kids, not to mention Older Brother and SIL, to talk about married people things and parent things. Oh, and homeowning things, too.

Is there some envy there?  Sure, a little.  But even more so, it's just this sense that I am falling farther and farther behind everyone I know.  Even my little sister.  And everyone has always put us side-by-side for comparison for as long as we've been sisters.  And I've always been the different one while she's been the standard.  Homeowning is another benchmark to which I do not measure up.

I may be the older one, but she's never let me lead the way.  Maybe it's better she hasn't followed me, come to think of it.  But even if she doesn't look up to me, at least I don't get the sense she looks down on me, either.  Not anymore anyway; she knows and is proud that I've come a long way.

Other people, not so much.  I'm not looking forward to the questions and noises of pity, or having to explain.  

It's a guilty pleasure, but I do watch 19 Kids and Counting occasionally, and I just felt for poor Jana, the eldest sister, during the one episode in which all the sisters and other women in Jill's wedding party did a trial hairstyling at the salon.  Jana was (is) not married or even engaged.  Also the maid of honor, like me.  (At least she's like 15 years younger than I am.)

Hairstylist: Are you dating anybody right now?
Jana: Mmm-mm. (shakes her head with a little smile, almost rolling her eyes) 
Hairstylist: Just livin' the single life. 
Jana:  Yep. I am good.
[Cut to side interview]
Jana: I'm good.  Whenever that time comes, hopefully I'll be prepared.  But I- I'm good with just waiting right now.

Gracious in her responses, but you can tell she was tired of being looked at a certain way and asked questions like that.  

I have to practice doing that.

I know it won't be the same after YS is married.  At least not until--unless--I catch up.

I miss her already.