3 Things I Have Learned From My Brother

1. Surround yourself with people whom you love and who love you unconditionally. I was on my brother’s computer this weekend, configuring our iTunes libraries. My brother has had his computer for a couple of weeks, but already it is full of pictures of people who are important to him. The screen saver, the wallpaper, any picture icon – it’s all of people whom he cares about. I have had my computer for over three years, and I have never personalized anything with my friends and family.

I think that’s why if I don’t see my family for a while, I get really tired and start avoiding people. I don’t constantly recharge my battery by reminding myself that there are people in the world who will care about me even if I decide to start living in a sewer. My brother is good about that.

2. The only people’s opinions who are important are the those that you decide are important. My brother does not care if you dislike him. Because he doesn’t know you. It’s so incredibly simple and relieves so much stress.

I am constantly trying to maximize who likes me. I don’t post anything on this blog that’s too controversial because I want people to think I’m an alright guy. I have full faith that if my brother was of the blogging variety, his blog would be one of the most conversation-generating on the internet. Because he wouldn’t be afraid to post something that was unpopular.

3. Never like anything you don’t like. A lot of my friends at school are horrible about this. They have things they actually like and things they ironically like. This concept is foreign to my brother. If he likes something, he likes it. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.

My brother also refuses to “like” things he’s “supposed” to. I am constantly trying to make myself like classics, whether in literature, film, or music. And this is just so that I can seem cultured. How self-serving. My brother is better than that.

I promise that I will stop with the mushy brother posts for a while.

Why I Need (Not Want) My Mom

My mother is an incredible human being. And I’m not just saying that because she’s my mother. I would still consider her an amazing human being if she was someone else’s mother.

Here’s the thing about my mom. She is a difficult person to buy gifts for.

I think when people hit the age of about 19, it just becomes easier to get gift cards. Everyone always talks about how gift cards aren’t meaningful and all that, but the truth of the matter is that by age 19, all you really want from life is some combination of clothes, electronics, music, movies, and books. And all of those things kind of require personal input. So we get each other gift cards, and we write each other nice little letters that say what we think the money should be spent on.

That’s what you do for most adults.

And most adults are more than happy to spend that money on themselves. I know I am.

Not my mom.

I don’t really have many memories of my mom spending money on something she wanted. She only spends money on things she needs, or, more accurately, things the humble Smith household needs. My grandmother got my mother a gift card to Kohl’s for Christmas. What was my mom excited to buy? New bath towels. No joke. She said our old ones were falling apart. She was right.

I think that’s a really cool skill to have – to be able to discern what it is you need from what it is you want.