By now I’ve probably established that Mark wasn’t a run-of-the-mill stoic guy; he loved communicating ideas and feelings. If it weren’t for him being relatively manly, he would have made a good chick. He liked culture and art almost as much as he liked history and sports. He liked the color purple. And he moved his hips while dancing, although without looking too fey.
One of his favorite topics of discussion and reflection was the effect that birth order supposedly has on your personality and how you relate to people. Psychological experts, and Mark Lawrence, claim that birth order is an indicator of how you’ll turn out as an adult: how you see the world, how you expect to be treated and how you treat other people. Spacing between kids, number and sex of the kids, household status, divorce…it supposedly all combines to make us fucked up.
Reflecting upon the circumstances of our divergent birth order, social status and family dynamics helped Mark and I better understand where we both came from and how we differed in communicating and relating. In his case, those combined circumstances made him determined to leave home at 18 and make his own way, attending college and working full-time simultaneously. Me, I chose the security of living with my parents while getting my degree, continuing to put up with my three little brothers. I could have never lived without a TV and phone as he did, sharing a crash-pad apartment with rodents for roommates. I didn’t live on the edge much back then, and chose a much more traditional path until crossing his.
We often laughed that had we met one another at 20, it would have never worked. I just wished we’d been able to get more time on the other end, happily discussing birth order pre-dispositions and our crazy families as our rocking chairs creaked in sync.
Of course, all this family dynamics/birth order BS ultimately provides something on which to blame our shortcomings: our parents.