Takeaways from being an Older Sibling for 20+ years

Arsheen Sandhu
2 min readMay 30, 2021

Often younger siblings look up to their older brothers or sisters because they like to believe that they must know better. However, as an Older sister I can sincerely tell you that we don’t.

As an older sibling every year on my birthday, till I turned thirteen, I wished for an older sibling. Since that didn’t happen, I took things in my own hand. I had to become my own older sibling, so every time I confronted something difficult and overcame it, I took mental notes. I’ve shared them with my sister, she won’t admit them as helpful but I’d sure like to think that they were.

So, here they are for everyone who doesn’t have an older sibling and for basically anyone who might benefit from them:

Standing out is Outstanding: Our entire socialization is based on the fundamental idea of raising us to be conventional and normal. It’s ridiculous how everyone wants you to be exactly like everybody else yet be different. Your individuality is ultimately what defines you. Therefore, despite it’ll make people ‘unbelievably uncomfortable’ there is no reason why you should not be unapologetically outstanding in whatever ‘you’ like to do. Amongst siblings too, despite our parents giving us almost entirely the same upbringing, my sister turned out nothing like me.

Disagreements are vital: No matter how much you think you know, it’s always better to hear the other side of things. Your ideas become stronger or you simply learn something new. It’s a win-win. It might help you develop an open mind, with healthier beliefs in the long run.

Failure is not constant: Just like happiness is not constant, failure is not constant either. I asked my sister to organize my desk for me the other day and she didn’t, the next day I asked her again, and then again. Not taking failure to be constant is the deal here. Just try again, differently. Take a breather if things get overwhelming. Get back on it later, but comeback eventually. If you keep trying, your sibling might even listen to you one day.

Productivity is overrated: Now I understand that this might sound like something an unproductive person might say, but just hear me out. Productivity is subjective. The value of a lot of things is decided based on their positive outcome for the larger public. However, activities that simply make you happy through the day are important for you individually, hence being valuable. That does include sleeping and binge watching anime. In this sense, productivity is a more personal concept than a capitalist idea.

P.S I just really wanted to convert my mental notes into writing; I just thought they might be helpful to some of you. If it is though, I hope you guys will let me know, it’ll be something I can show to my sister in order to get her to believe and value my wisdom.

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Arsheen Sandhu

Just a twenty something thinking she knows what she’s doing.