On becoming a better person

I was thinking the other day about how odd it is that there are some people I
just can never be jealous of. Whether it’s getting generous gifts from
parents/family/significant others, getting paid ridiculous amounts, getting
straight As, whatever. I might sound like a witch saying this, but when I hear
about great things happening to some (a few – not very many) I can’t help but
begrudge them a little. Don’t I work hard enough? Don’t I deserve good luck? AM
I not a good person? But for most of my friends I really am happy for their good
fortune; I might wish for a second that I was as lucky or blessed, but in no way
do I want to detract from their achievements.

What is it that makes the difference? How close we are? How often we see each
other? How genuinely nice they are as a person? Whether they’ve worked really
hard to get to where they are?

The biggest surprise for me was the last time I saw my family. My brother,
though he doesn’t have everything he wants (I don’t think) gets a hell of a lot
from my parents. iPod, camera, special edition Strat which cost over a grand (or
was it two grand? Does it make a difference when the numbers are that high?) My
guitar and amp cost less than that combined, and I paid for it all myself
working two jobs in fifth form. I never got given anything like what he gets
now.

And yet I really do not care. I’m glad for him, I’m glad my parents are
loosening up a little and maybe learning to appreciate what they have. I don’t
even feel a little pang that I missed out on all that stuff. Everything I have
now I earned myself.

Maybe I’m not as selfish as I thought I was.

Being the oldest and the guinea pig for growing up in a new country, and female,
and the “smart” one who was pushed to excel was kinda hard. It was never good
enough – didn’t matter how many people I was beating, I was still supposed to
look up to the freaky top 1%ers and strive to be just like them. Unfortunately
what my parents wanted was vastly different from what I wanted. And neither of
us dealt with that in the best possible way, hence the whole leaving home in
sixth form thing.

Since then I think I’ve received more from the folks than in my whole life. We
never really did Christmas. I never believed in Santa. I probably didn’t even
hear of him till I was about seven. We went shopping for our presents on
Boxing Day, occasionally. We didn’t get birthday presents (though granted we
didn’t really give them either). Sometimes I feel like I missed out on a lot
but I have to remind myself they’re just material things. Now I get birthday
and Christmas gifts, which although is nice I find it ironic, and a little sad.

I see in my brother a lot of what I was like at that age. He lives a little bit
in his own world, like I did, but in a different way. I lost myself in books,
where he spends his time on the computer/watching Tv and now playing guitar, I
guess. He’s gawky, awkward and a little socially inept, a bit defensive, a bit
aggro, and sometimes the way he talks phases me a bit because that’s exactly
something I would’ve said when I was 13. I’ve come a long way from there, and I
can only hope that in time he’ll grow into himself too.

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