…”that’s nothing. Wait till you get to ALGEBRA…”

You know, when I tell people that I have three older brothers, I get this reaction a lot:
“You must be so tough, with three older brothers who beat on you.”

Or sometimes, people will say:
“You probably ran the roost and bossed them all around.”

I suppose this might be true if the situation happened on some kind of 70s sitcom, those two situations might occur. They bear no resemblance whatsoever to my life experience.

Basically, with three older brothers, a ittle sister was even less than an afterthought. Three boys could have a lot of fun together. My brothers had very little interest in me.

And I…Well, I didn’t enjoy getting dirty or other ‘boy’ things. Not that my brothers were so testosterone laden; they were fairly bookish. But , and I made my own friends.

And that was all years ago, when we were little.

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. She ony has a sister, no brothers at all. Naturally, we were discussing men in general. And through out the conversation, I started to realize that she had a very different view of what men were about than I did. Just things about what men like and what they are like.

I guess I never realized that having brothers helped me get aquainted with the clay feet of the male. I have never felt the need to put them on a pedastel. That’s something to thank them for.

But my life has always been my own. I have always been so busy and full of my own life. I’ve writeen about it before, I am so full of ambition that I can’t seem to stop.

I had a conversation with another friend last night, and he was talking about his own ambition. That he was frustrated with his job but he just couldn’t move on. He didn’t feel like he had bested it.

This triggered a response in me; I’d been thinking some similar things. “Are you the youngest child?”

“How did you know? that has been such a huge part of my life, competing with my older brother.”

Huh. I have just been realizing that aspect of my relationship with my brother.

It’s amazing that it took so long for me to figure it out. I guess because I always felt like my brothers had nothing whatever to do with me.

But when I think about my brothers growing up, I remember this sort of exchange:

“Oh, man, long division is so hard…It takes so long….”

“Shuh! You think long division is hard? That’s nothing. Wait till you get to ALGEBRA.”

And my ten-year old self was set up to compete with my four-years-older brother. There was no way to get ahead. I had to scramble the whole time to catch up.

It was like I was conditioned to always try as hard as I possibly could. I always believed that I could catch up if only I tried harder.

And…I think my ambition and drive comes from that. In a lot of ways. I have this belief that was instiled and reinforced when I was little, that I had to catch up, and that I would catch up. Of course, I would eventually get to algebra. Of course I would.

And in fact, there are things I have charged into and taken on, that quite possibly I should have been more daunted and less sure of my success. But somehow, I just knew that I would take those on too, just the way I took on Algebra.

Now, I just have to learn to turn it off a ittle…When I need to back off from taking things on. That’s maybe the next algebra…