I guess you can say that I am a life-long sufferer of Only Child Syndrome. Symptoms of this peculiar disorder include excessive need for attention, unhealthy ambition and chronic preoccupation with strange and sometimes trivial matters that certainly cannot be worth so much of one's time.
Being an only child has its good and bad points. On a positive note, I am the sole "apple" of Mom and Dad's eyes, I don't have to compete with anyone else for their attention or praise, I don't have to live up to a morally impeccable or highly accomplished sibling, and my birthday is exploded into an event as grand as any national holiday. The negative side is that I feel like all of my parents' hopes and dreams rest on my shoulders, they have all the time in the world to focus on any displeasing word or action I may say or engage in, and I have no loser brother or sister to whom I may be favorably compared.
One of the stereotypes I've heard about only children is that they are prone to doing things alone, having a need for space and seclusion, and generally feeling more comfortable around adults then people their own age. If this is the trend, than I am quite the deviant. When my apartment is noise-free, I get extremely uncomfortable. After being around adults 24/7, there was nothing I wanted more than to be free of their never-ending soap opera allegedly referred to as "real life" and have some fun with my peers. I've never equated "my way" of doing things with the "only way" of doing things.
In general, I find everyone (anyone!) incredibly interesting. I thoroughly enjoy learning as much as I can about an individual person, from how he or she spent his or her childhood to what his or her goals are for the future. This curiosity about people and the need to probe deeper than the surface is one of my motivations behind seeking a career in journalism.
From what I have come to learn about human beings, through personal observation and academic institutions, we're social creatures. No one wants to be that guy/girl sitting all alone in the movie theater, the restaurant, the bar, or the very worst, the merry-go-round. As a kid, I would bring pictures of my cousins Dino, Angelo and Antoinette to school and tell all my friends they were my brothers and sister. This led my teachers to inaccurately conclude that my mother was 14 when she began reproducing. You can imagine the trouble that got me into come parent-teacher conferences.
Many years have passed since I was the six-year old menace, or "Tasmanian Devil," as my mother affectionately referred to me and at the wiser (or quite simply just older) age of 21, I have been molded like clay by something so painful, but so necessary to development of one's character: rejection. The hardest part of growing up has to be the fact that being a baby, especially the only baby in the house, the whole universe seems to revolve around you, for better or worse. Whether you have siblings or not, your parents (if they are actually doing their job) live for you and making you a happy, healthy individual. It's when one enters the world, or should I say the dreaded word high school, that one learns differently. In fact, one learns that there are hardly any people who could honestly give the rear end of a hairy rodent what trials or triumphs one is experiencing.
But despite everything that could have led me to believe I have lived a life of singularity, this is the first year I've been without a group, clique, ensemble, posse, gang, etc. I suppose it's because I'm a senior and at this point, superficial acquaintances, strained ties and emotional vampires have been weeded out of my life. Or some people have just drifted away, and I just have to deal with the fact that, as clich?(c) as it may sound, my path is going somewhere else.
Perhaps it's my feelings of loneliness or my general tendency to be extremely introspective, despite how extroverted I appear, which has generated my love of people and my desire to see the best in humanity in general. I want nothing more than to embrace what I feel are things greater than my measly little existence. After living as me, myself and I for so long, there is nothing sweeter than the word "we."