“What song is he thinking of right now?” is the first question I usually get asked when people find out I have a twin brother.
And no, I do not know the answer.
Next are usually questions like who’s taller, who’s better looking, who’s smarter and then, the inevitable, who’s older? It is then I have to admit that I am younger by two minutes. After that is determined, it is back to who is more funny, athletic and so on.
Of course, all siblings feel compared. Whether it is a younger or older, brother or sister, it is going to happen. But having a twin feels a little different. Having a twin means that as much as you are unique, you’re the same.
For example, when you go to family dinners it’s “how are the twins?” When you run into an old friend or teacher it’s “Where are the twins these days?” And when you talk to anyone about anything, it’s “Anything new with the twins?” In people’s minds, we’re often viewed as one. When you share a birthday with someone and grow up side by side, it is hard to establish yourself as an individual, especially when people often push you together. We’re not a dual package.
If my brother has a quality that outshines mine, it becomes one of my weaknesses, and vice versa.
No matter who I tell, similar reactions occur. People want to know who is better at what. Neither of us want to be the weak twin or the awkward twin or the lazy twin. But the feeling of being compared lingers. That’s especially true, when there is only a two minute difference, meaning neither of us had any advantage in developing certain skills. We are on the same playing field. Growing up, this feeling was magnified.
However, being a twin does have its perks. As much as being compared sometimes feels like one of us is winning while the other one is losing, it can work out in our favour. I don’t have an older sibling my parents want as a role model or a younger sibling that I need to impress and inspire.
It also makes me push myself in whatever activity I’m doing. Both of us can get pretty competitive. Therefore, it makes me run faster, study longer and practice harder.
Another advantage that came along with having a twin was that growing up there was always someone my age to be with. When attending family dinners or events, neither of us have to do all the talking or entertaining.
It meant that we were able to share our answers for our homework and we could split up our chores.
Being a twin is something I don’t know anything different from, but not something I would change. It is a reassuring feeling knowing someone is there who is going through similar things that I’m going through.
Plus, this way, I always have a go-to when it is time to tell the class a fun fact about myself.