7 Benefits of Having an Older Sibling As an Adult, Because They Always Know Just What You Want For Your Birthday

When I was seven, I went on the Jack the Ripper tour with my family in London. I think my parents thought I wouldn’t pay attention, but I’d say I was pretty rapt the whole time, touring those dingy London streets while hearing about the gruesome demise of prostitutes at the hands of Saucy Jack. The guide ended his tour with, “And he was never found, to this day,” which now I can see was a lame joke, but then stuck with me as a pretty ominous endnote. That night in our shabby-chic hotel (more shabby than chic), my older brothers pointed to the window. “Jack the Ripper’s out there,” they said, “He could come right through that window and kidnap you.” That was more than I could take at my young impressionable age. I slept with my parents that night.

My brothers made fun of me for everything when I was little. For walking on my tiptoes, for only eating white foods, for mispronouncing words I’d only ever read (I used to say “re-LA-tives” a lot). I had a large gap between my two front teeth then. “The barge is coming through!” my brothers would announce, holding their hands up to the side of their mouths to mimic dockworkers, or so I imagined.

Of course, all this still didn’t stop me from following them everywhere and trying to get in on their pickup T-ball games. “Boiiiiiz! Boiiiiiz!” I would yell after them, but my chubby little legs couldn’t carry me far, and I was inevitably left behind to play with my two best friends, Kirsten and Josefina.

But now that we’re in our twenties and early thirties and all of our cells have regenerated twice over to make us completely different people (is that how it works?), I feel as though we’re closer than ever. It feels like we all bounced out of a wormhole that spat us out on the other side of childhood. Now we’re poking up our heads in this new age of adulthood, trying to make sense of big questions like “who am I?” and “retirement plan?” Lucky for me, I have two canaries in the coal mine already, flying ahead in life to determine air quality.

If you're friends with your older siblings now, you know what I'm talking about. Here are seven benefits that come with being close with your older siblings as an adult.

1. You can STILL steal their clothes

One-size-fits-all flannel pajama pants? Some fun striped button-downs? That leather pilot’s jacket my brother nabbed from Salvation Army? I’m totally rocking right that now. Thanks for the condom I found in the pocket, bro!

2. you always have someone who wants to hang

When we were younger, we might’ve not been the best buds for straight chilling. But now, I have activities I can share with each of my brothers: I can do a hot yoga class and grab a green juice with one, and the other is always down for a classical music fest (emphasis on the late Romantics). When the three of us are together, we like to run through woods and holler.

3. unlimited Couch-surfing

Maybe it’s midnight in Astoria, pouring rain, and I’m feeling rather reluctant to hike my way to Brooklyn. Or maybe I’m on a wild European adventure and I’d rather not pay 1,000,000 CHF to stay in a Genovian hotel. I know I’ll always have a place where I can stretch out lengthwise for a night. Likewise, my couch is ready and waiting for my brethren should the need arise. An open couch — it’s the bro code.

4. you get to learn from their professional choices

One of my brothers is a physicist, and though I don’t exactly understand what he does, leaving the nitty-gritty details up to modern magic and mystery, I have gathered some crazy tidbits like the fact that there are an infinite number of alternate universes in existence at this very moment. Just think, there’s a version of myself with a third nipple out there — what’s her life like? My other brother is an actor, and has taught me how to harness the power of monologues. Having an older sibling means you get to see how a specific career track plays out — without actually having to pursue it yourself.

5. really. great. Presents.

My brothers are great gift givers, and the more I get to know them, the better the gifts get! Last year I got Patti Smith’s Just Kids (a great read for your first year in New York) and a life-changing espresso machine — what else can a sis ask for? Your older siblings will always give you the best presents because they know exactly what you want — and usually have the cash to buy it for you.

6. they continue to set an example

I’m lucky to have two bros who have stayed true to their passions and values throughout the tumultuous waves of early adulthood, eschewing temptations of fame and fortune for the noblesse of art and science. In the spirit upholding the family tradition, I’m trying to do the same. Go Team!

7. they've seen you grow up — but they're not your parents

My siblings have known me all my life, a fact that's flaring up now that we've transitioned into (semi) maturity. Unlike parents, older siblings witness your growth from a level generational plane. And that means some great wisdom. They've seen me grow up, but they're close enough to my age that they know how to tell it to me like it is. I'm one lucky little sister.

Images: FOX; Giphy; Jane Brendlinger