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Oh Brother

July 16, 2013

Oh Brother. Where, oh where to start.

I’ve written here and thereBig-Sister-Books about him on this blog already but writing an entire post on my favorite (and only) brother seems ridiculously daunting. He and I go way back, back to when he was born and I thought he was my child to take care of, back to the time my parents told us they found me at the recycle center and him at the garbage dump, back to the days when he’d explicitly do anything I told him to (in order to impress my friends I once told him to dive headfirst into a garbage can. That didn’t end well), back to the moment I came home to find every beanie baby I owned duct taped to every surface of my room, back to the night he got dumped by his girlfriend of three days so we danced around the house blasting Cascada, back to the long car rides in the van when I’d steal his gameboy so he’d have to talk to me, back to when I knew he was a grown up because he called me ‘just to talk’ from college.

There is just way too much to say when it comes to my brother. He’s a dorky, charismatic, self-conscious, adorable extrovert who is just as happy reading a book alone or climbing a tree with friends as he is playing a video game or ballroom dancing. He’s got the best memory to ever exist, couldn’t ace a homework assignment if his life depended on it, spends hours writing poetry about zombies and has told me he’d be totally happy in life if he could find any job that made a decent wage and allowed him to have fun on the weekends. How on earth can I even attempt to wrap him up in a tidy blog post?

Right now, I don’t know what to do with the kid. He’s about to start his third year of college (though his transcript is marginal at best), with plans to major in history and not become a teacher. The major is a fall back after a few half-assed attempts at film, engineering, and computer science, so while he does enjoy history – at this point he’s just trying to get the degree. I wouldn’t be worried except that I am. He loves history, he can spew facts like a machine, but he isn’t the best at writing papers or supporting his assertions with facts. He knows this too, and it makes me sad that he won’t enjoy (or fully apply himself in) the classes he’s taking. He’s never been a school person, and I wish he’d take some time to either become one or find a way to power through it.little brother2

But at the same time he’s the happiest I’ve ever seen him. He’s found a social life through a ballroom dance club he joined on campus and made friends with all sorts of coworkers. He does a volunteer radio show on the campus station and every few weeks he records a commentary show with some internet friends about some internet animation series. He just started a new job at a sandwich place (he seems to like it… to me making salads for 6 hours straight for $8/hour sounds terrible) and even though the one thing he wants most is a girlfriend, I know he’s turned down a few advances lately because he’s holding out for someone else.

I’m so proud of him; he’s come a long way from the grumpy teenager I used to fight with a few years ago. But so have I, learning to keep quiet when all I wanted to do was criticize him for being an idiot. Things between us weren’t always great; there were years when he would only ask about me if I reminded him, when he thought of family vacations as his one true enemy. But somehow none of that ever lasted; even the summer when we fought 6 days out of the week we always managed to make up, finding something to laugh at or some way to forget what had been said before. As far as siblings go I’d say we’re really close, especially since I’ve moved back to Utah. Lately we talk on the phone about twice a week and he’ll stop by for a family dinner every other week. He tells me about girls and work and I tell him what it’s like to live with our parents again. It’s been fun, and I’d say I’m the closest to him I’ve ever been. But it’s also been hard, actively forcing myself to treat him as a friend, not someone I’m responsible to fix or micromanage. He’s my brother and I love him, but his life isn’t mine.

When it comes to what we want for our futures, we’re on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. He’d be great at anything; he can talk to anyone, remember everything and he takes anything he’s asked to do very seriously. For the last year he’s been the best movie theater usher the world has ever seen, completely unwilling to spend a few extra hours to apply ANYWHERE else and make a bit more money. He’s happy with where he is and who he’s with where I’m always looking to the next.

imag5555555esFor me it’s a foreign concept that jobs exist in order to make money to play with on the weekends. He is undaunted by the prospect of choosing a career, he knows that wherever he lands he’ll just do his best to work his way up and eventually make a decent wage. I want a career I love, to spend my days and nights working toward all sorts of goals I believe in. I’ve been at this desk job for SEVEN MONTHS now and I’m seriously losing it. I’m not working on anything I care about. Yes, I’m helping a company I think is awesome, saving money and I’m even working on projects that are going to better the world, but I just don’t feel connected here. It’s partially because I’m young and living at home and not ready to ‘settle’ but its more than that too. I want to enjoy every part of my life, especially my work, because playing around on the weekends simply isn’t enough. I want a job where I take ownership and responsibility, where work ridiculously hard for two weeks and then don’t feel guilty for spending some time away when things slow down. Life ebbs and flows and I know I’m not built for a job that revolves around 5 o’clock. I don’t understand how my brother manages to focus so clearly on the present, it’s one of the things I admire most about him.

All I know is I super love the kid, like more than it makes sense to love someone who makes me so angry so often. I don’t know what he’ll do with his life, or what I’ll do with mine. But I know we’re only becoming better people and growing closer with age. I love him. And I know I’m lucky to have him in my life.


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