There I said it. But wait, before you click on the X in the top right of the screen, just stay with me a second. This isn’t an article about me agreeing with one of the second female Prime Minister’s policies, moreover it’s me concurring with Mrs May on a more personal level.
You see, Teresa May and myself have something in common and it’s not a mutual love of kitten heels and right of centre politics.
Like myself, Teresa May is an only child.
“Being an only child,” she says, “you don’t feel the same need to be in a big group, at least not in the same way as people who grow up with a lot of people around them.”
I totally agree with the aforementioned quote. Mrs May’s sentiment really rings true with me as an only child.
I’m so content in my own company and never feel the need to be around lots of people, in fact I love nothing more than enjoying some time, just me, myself and I.
I’m someone who doesn’t like a lot of noise, big groups can often overwhelm me (perhaps that’s because I have an issue with always wanting to be in the limelight!); despite the confident exterior I often exude.
Growing up I often spent a great deal of time around adults. Both my parents are only children, thus aside from my friends, I didn’t spend a lot of time around other children. This never bothered me, I never felt lonely or like I was missing out on likeminded company.
While I’m quite an immature person at times (Peter Pan some might say), I’ve often been told I appear older and maybe wiser than my years. This is something I’d agree with to a certain degree but let me tell you now, I’ve made some absolutely monumental mistakes in my life. Mistakes that someone who was described as wise wouldn’t necessarily make!
However, because I spent so much time around adults growing up, I never found it difficult to hold a conversation with someone who was years older than me. It’s something that came naturally and I attribute this in part to my only child status.
Something else I attribute to being an only child is independence.
OK, before my friends and family laugh at my self-proclaimed independence, allow me to explain what I mean a little further.
Despite always holding down a job since I was 16, I’ve never been great with my finances. Financial independence hasn’t exactly come easily to me, neither has the mantra ‘only spend what you’ve got’. Sorry about that Dad.
I also rely on people to get me from A to B, the thought of being responsible for a car terrifies me to within an inch of my life. I’m hoping one day this will be a fear I combat though. I know it would revolutionise my life tenfold.
When I say I’m independent, I mean emotionally. I wouldn’t call myself a needy person.
I never demand anyone’s time. Aside from Wes if Mother Nature has decided it’s time for me to house World War 3 in my uterus and I’m struggling to parent that week. Periods really are a bastard aren’t they?
However, in all seriousness, being an only child has lent itself well to me being quite emotionally self-reliant.
When both my parents were diagnosed with cancer within 7 months of each other, I had no one to share that experience and worry with. Well, no one who would quite understand the way I did. I had to be strong for both my parents and put any thoughts and fears I had to one side and remain strong for them. This made me grow up very quickly.
When I lost my Grandfather and Grandmother at 16 and 19 respectively, I had to be strong once again for my Mum and Dad. Just like my Mum had to be strong for my Nan who had just lost the love of her life.
I had a candid conversation with my Mum whilst discussing this post and she admitted that she would have liked to have had a brother or a sister. Someone to share responsibility with, someone to share family experiences with; the dark times and of course the good. Whereas I don’t feel like that. I’ve always said you can’t miss what you don’t have. An admission she doesn’t agree with.
Like anything in life, there are many pros and cons to being a single child. And of course, there also many myths that come with it too. I’m fortunate, but not spoilt. I’m confident, but not cocky. And I’d say I’m self-interested but not selfish. I’ll always share (even if it’s chocolate or pizza!) and although I’ll sometimes find it hard to empathise with people, I’d always be there for someone to listen and not judge.
I have some wonderful friends in my life. But I don’t have many. My real, true friends I can count on my hands and I’m fine with that. I don’t need a large group of women around me to feel validated. I’m happy with my lot and I’m happy that whenever I have a problem that needs solving I’ll always look within first and try and solve it myself. A skill that was noted by a previous boss of mine.
Loneliness is a feeling I’ve never been acquainted with. Ever. Perhaps that might change in years to come, who knows. But as it stands I’m quite happy often adopting the role of The Lone Ranger. In fact, I really quite like it.