Youngest Sibling/Bottom of the Pile--Part Two
Guest post by Jonathan Sarver
You can read part one from last week at www.armchairwit.com
These two posts were musings of a young man on the cusp of adulthood, walking a new path.
Youngest children in families can be extremely driven people.
We are usually driven by our dreamer tendencies, driven by random hobbies. We are driven by loves that come from within, that compel us to strike out on our own path and try things without thinking twice. We try things that most people would say are impossible. We wouldn't be happy if we did anything less.
Youngest children bother no one with their life choices, and only ask for that in return.
For example, my older six siblings all chose to live near other family members and pursued careers from a young age. I moved to a place over 800 miles from the nearest family member, just because I love the area.
The feeling of a blank slate and the ability to just be myself and live my life how I want without critique has been amazing. Don't get me wrong. I'm not making a subtle jab at my family here, just making a general statement. My family is amazing and very loyal.
But as I was saying, I have done everything from taxi driving, to fence building, to working for some of the richest people on earth, to delivering organic eggs, to construction, and you know what? I wouldn't trade a single day for a "good stable career." I just see it as being rounded and packing as much life into life as possible.
I will draw this to a close shortly, but I have a few final thoughts to throw out about what it's like inside the head of a youngest child. Not to sound conceited, but we are usually smart, far beyond our years.
We have the combined experience and knowledge of all our older siblings passed down into one little brain.
Again, I'm not looking for pity. Last-born children easily develop inferiority complexes despite any kind of intellect we may have, because we weren’t taken seriously at any point in our lives. Despite any competence and skills at adapting we possess, we still deep down always feel like a little child lost in a big old world. We just can't quite figure out how others give off such airs of competence and collection, and always just seem so... adult.
We usually are fast learners though we may have learning styles very different from most of the population.
Some of us struggle terribly with standardized schooling or training. But if we take an interest in something, in a short time we can become experts in nuclear chemistry simply through self-research. This translates to the adult world as being employees who have trouble with simple paperwork, but if you sit us down and demonstrate how to do something, we can singlehandedly run your whole corporation in three days’ learning time.
Again, not looking to brag here. When I was in high school, I struggled immensely with my education. It got so bad that my mother finally took me to a scholastic evaluator. After he gave me a test to see where I placed, my evaluator was dumbfounded when he added up the results. I struggled with the simplest standardized test, but at age fifteen, placed at the level of a college senior. I was simply bored with my schooling, having rather been outside. I just couldn't fit my thought processes into those of the people who designed the courses I was taking.
As I said earlier, youngest children have an uncanny way of empathizing, and being able to express the deepest thoughts and emotions most people don't know how to even put into words. That may be a strength of ours, but a weakness is our inability to focus. We may be great at quickly mastering anything, but it is very hard for us to stick with anything for that long.
One final thing I will wrap this up with: connection. Every now and then I meet somebody where I walk away afterward and think, That was crazy. I felt so connected to them. They just get me. Then I find out later they also are a youngest child. We have an uncanny way of drawing each other and being able to “get” each other on an indescribably deep level. It wouldn't make sense if we tried to explain it to anybody else.
I suppose it is just the fact that last-borns are so uniquely put together.
Hopefully I will meet more people like that soon because I just moved to my new home that "I just like" and I really need a partner for all the opportunities available in this awesome new area.
Note from Mom: When our son wrote the above lines he really was writing a letter to himself, remembering what it was like trying to figure where he fit into life in general. He encapsulated his strengths and weaknesses pretty accurately. As with all our children, we appreciate their accomplishments. Most of all, we value the greatest accomplishment: knowing and living for the God of heaven.