The middle seat, be it on an airplane or in a car, is probably your worst option. It’s crowded, uncomfortable and you just feel stuck. As the second of three kids, I know what ‘the middle’ feels like and found that seat to bear more freedom than you'd think.
With an older sister who pushed parental boundaries and a younger brother who monopolized my parents' attention since day 1, I enjoyed an upbringing with no curfews and hardly any reprimanding. With less eyes on you, I learned, there are also less expectations to shoulder. When a friend's brother dropped out of college to explore Brazil using his bitcoin fortune, her mother's response was, "He's the middle child, what do you expect?"
Naturally, your fellow sibs may also represent the upper and lower bounds of your family's normal. In my case, my siblings could not be more opposite. My older sister has all her ducks in a row. She lives with her long-time boyfriend, has a rigorous anti-aging facial routine and recently purchased a charcuterie board with a matching cheese knife set. Need I say more? While she is busy climbing the corporate ladder on weekdays, she unwinds at the local farmer's market on weekends. Yes, my sister is the thriving adult among us.
My younger brother, on the other hand, is the ‘poster child’ of the eat, sleep, rave and repeat lifestyle. Last time I was home, it was around 3 PM when I heard an impressive burp echoing down the stairs. Shortly after, my brother meandered into the kitchen, mumbling "mornin", as he prepared his daily ration of extra spicy, instant ramen noodles. After washing this down with some milk - straight from the carton, of course - he paused. While shaking his head in disbelief, he confessed: "I have so many ambitions." He then danced towards the living room stereo to let his clueless sister in on what cool people listen to these days.
Clearly, in my family the window and aisle seats are miles apart, making the middle a pretty wide-open space I am happy to claim.
Nina Schröder, master’s student FHML