Things My Sister Taught Me

Today is my sister’s birthday. Like my dad, my big sister has taught me a thing or two over the years.

Numbers Don’t Lie

My sister explaining her stock market investment strategies to me while we were on vacation in the Dominican. And, yes, there is a spreadsheet involved.

Despite her deep-seated belief that she’s not good at math, my sister is very, very good at math, especially when it comes to money. So whenever I have a financial question, I turn to her for help. Should I put extra money that I made towards my RRSPs or towards paying off my student loans? “Do a spreadsheet and figure out what gives you better results. Numbers don’t lie, Beth,” she’ll say. Similarly, despite knowing, logically, that buying real estate right now is a terrible, terrible idea, there is that piece of me that feels like “you are a giant failure if you don’t own any property!” To which she’ll say, “Keep your emotions out of it. Make a pros and cons list and see how you can get what you want from buying property in ways other than buying property. And do a spreadsheet – numbers don’t lie!”

Nifty Kitchen Tricks

Nancy and her cookies
Nancy and her USA PAN!!!!

I am a foodie and so is my sister. Whenever I visit her, I always learn new nifty kitchen tricks. Like how making your own homemade vanilla extract is super easy and super awesome. Or how freshly grated nutmeg is one billion times better than the pre-ground stuff and keeping a nutmeg nut and a little grater on your stove means you will put it in everything you cook and everything you cook will thus be 100% more delicious. Or that kitchen shears are the greatest, most awesome, most versatile tool one can have while cooking. And woe betide anyone who takes the kitchen shears and uses them outside of the kitchen!

Good For You, You Get a Gold Star

In addition to “Numbers don’t lie,” one of my sister’s other favourite sayings is “Good for you. You get a gold star.” These words of wisdom are spoken when one is complaining about some injustice done to you, or some instance where you know you are right and another party is refusing to acknowledge that. Her point is that it doesn’t matter if other people know you are right and complaining about things won’t make them better. If you just want someone to say that you are right, she’s happy to give you a gold star just like you got in elementary school – but does that really make it better? No, it doesn’t. Either do something about it (if it’s something about which you can do something) or don’t worry about it (because it doesn’t really matter is someone else knows you are right).

This Is The Show

We only get one shot at life, so we better make the ride worthwhile. “This is the show!” my sister will say. So don’t sit around waiting for things to happen. Don’t put things off because there might not be a “better” time to do them. Hell, there might not be *any* time to do them – we don’t know what tomorrow holds. This is the show, it’s not the dress rehearsal. Life is worth living, so get out and live it.

You Can Balance A Lot Of Things

My sister is something of a superwoman. She has a very busy career as a graphic designer, teaches several demanding university courses (in addition to the aforementioned full-time career job), and is raising two young (and freaking amazing) kids! She has also taken on the lion’s share of the daughter-ly, niece-ly, and granddaughter-ly responsibilities for our family, since I up and moved across the country and am effectively useless when it comes to such tasks1. And amidst all this, she has lots and lots of fun. And since This Is The Show, isn’t that what life’s all about?

We Aren’t So Different, You and I

Day 179

My sister and I grew up thinking we were very, very different, only to discover in adulthood that we are very, very similar. I look forward to many more years of visiting and traveling together and Christmas baking (in person and virtually) and trading lecture notes and Gmail chats. I’m so lucky to have won the sister lottery in getting to have you as my big sister!

I love you, Nancy. I hope you have a very happy birthday!

  1. This consists of things like visting family members, attending family events, scheduling everything for when I come to visit, buying presents for family members (for the latter, she (a) remembers occasions, (b) thinks of something to buy, (c) acquires said item, and (d) gets said item to its intended recipient. I, on the other hand, (a) email her some money for my half of the present, and (b) take credit []

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