Commentary: I’m always going to be 10 years old


Photo credit: Emily Doyle

My older siblings and I play a game called “Spy.” I cherished these moments because we solidified out unconventional friendship. 

By Claire Doyle, Staff Reporter

I often hear the neverending streams of “I remember you when you were this tall” or the “Oh my, how you’ve grown.” It’s as if the idea of getting older is unimaginable to those who have known me since I was little. Nonetheless, I have never felt anything less than lucky to be the youngest in my family.

We might punch and kick and yell at each other, but the bond my siblings and I share is unbreakable (just don’t ask me that when I’m hungry or tired). Whether it’s our group chat titled “Don’t tell mom or dad” or the glances to each other at the dinner table, I have always been appreciative of having built-in friends. 

My role in my family is being the one that gets in trouble but always seems to come out unscathed. The one that takes my siblings side even when they’re in the wrong. The one that talks too loud and doesn’t cross her legs. I have never resented my role in my family.

Despite this, I still find myself feeling the same way I did when I was 10 years old. I find that people around me are surprised when I say that I am turning 15 soon. I might’ve grown out of the immaturity and fashion sense of my 10-year-old self, but my love for Taylor Swift and the desire to be seen as “grown-up” never really went away. I always looked up to my older sister, and what she didn’t realize is that when I stole her clothes, I didn’t want to be like her, I wanted to be her.

Always feeling 10 years old isn’t exactly how I envisioned my teenage years going. I imagined dancing on the table like Kat in “10 Things I hate About You.” I imagined going to parties like the one in the music video “Last Friday Night” by Katy Perry.

I think about how my siblings always had one of us in the house during their senior year of high school, but I won’t. I get face time calls from college and two weeks with them for winter break. I get texts and photos and stories that I wish I was there for.

When my sister went to college, there was something off in my home. When her lights weren’t on and her bed was still made, her laugh wasn’t lighting up the house the way it used to.

By my own admission, the first night she left I slept in her bed. Partly because I always wondered what her bedroom felt like, but also because I missed her.

Though it’s sad she is gone, I have seen her at least once every month since she has left. This brings me to a saying my grandfather would always repeat, “How can I miss you if you’re never gone?” I have the great privilege of knowing that my sister is only one flight, phone call or John Mayer meme away.

Being the youngest is a nuanced role that takes (in my opinion) an immense amount of humility to not feel like a shadow to my older siblings — rather an amazing supporting actress who gets her time to shine.

Now that my sister’s room is empty, I have the option of feeling like the oldest with the comfort of knowing I’ll always have the gifts of being the youngest.