Brothers

I spent the weekend with my brother and his family, which (as always) got me thinking about our different life trajectories. Both of my brothers and I are pursuing creative lives to some extent; my older brother, who was the most creatively disciplined of us all in our youth, has yet to break into any of the creative profession fields; my younger brother, who initially didn’t seem to have any plan at all, is a wealthy Hollywood screenwriter, and is clearly the most accomplished of the three of us, at least when applying the traditional measures of success; and then there’s me, the early prodigy who stumbled, fell, nearly stayed down, and ended up becoming the late bloomer.

I try not to play the comparison game, which of course is nearly impossible, given the fact that I’ve had these two brothers for nearly 45 years now. The old psychological dynamics and triggers are hard to escape without severing the connection entirely. Still, I may finally have grown and matured enough to feel more securely anchored in my own life, my own pace, my own experience. My life is far from perfect, but then that was going to be true no matter how events unfolded. I haven’t scaled the mountaintop in some of the ways my younger brother has, but I managed to scrabble and claw my way out of the crevasses I’ve occupied in the past.

My life trajectory seems to point up, at long last. I may not measure up to the standing and benchmarks of other people in the world, but my many “failure to launch” years finally seem to be over, and no matter how complicated it is to have those thoughts and feelings agitated (as they inevitably are in the presence of my brothers), I’m moving forward now. It’s a relief to be able to maintain an active awareness of that, rather than watch it sink miserably into a big old cesspool of anxiety and regret.

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