Now that my brother and I are a little bit older and a tad bit wiser, we don't fight nearly as much as we did when we were kids. I'd like to think it's because we have matured but really I believe it's the distance. We are both out on our own now living our separate lives. It is only on the holidays and other special occasions that we get to sit down and bond.
When we do get together he usually doesn't accuse me of stealing his G.I. Joes and hogging the Lincoln Logs. It's mostly casual conversation around the dinner table catching up on the months that we have been apart. The talks always go late into the night because, no matter what the topic, there is always something to talk about. Somewhere between the time-outs and silent treatments, my brother and I became best friends.
Sometimes I catch myself wondering, "What was there even really to fight about?" or "What did I get mad about that for?"
I wish I could say I've outgrown my old ways but, from time to time, I catch myself reverting to that pigtailed six-year-old tattling to mom and dad.
The other day, I was at the store doing some of my weekly shopping. I tend to be a little cranky while doing this because I hate the idea of spending money on necessary items such as garbage bags, paper towels and dish soap.
On top of buying my essentials for the week, I had to hunt down a large garbage can for outside. Some type of wildlife managed to destroy my first one. As a result I now have stinky garbage scattered all across my back porch and in my lawn.
I was having the hardest time finding the cans, so I decided to ask for help. Unfortunately for me, I asked a sales associate who was having a rough day like I was.
"They are over there." He pointed vaguely.
"Where exactly?" I asked, trying to remain calm.
"Over there!" He huffed.
Mu instinct was to start yelling back at him. It was his job to help me find those stupid garbage cans but he wasn't having any of it.
We stared each other down for about three seconds; I swallowed my pride and simply walked away.
Raising my voice at him wasn't going to get me any closer to finding those garbage cans. I could have told him off and tried to demand respect, but that wasn't going to solve anything.
Raising your voice doesn't make you right. Sometimes, silent confidence speaks louder.
I'm beginning to realize that no matter how old I get, there are still going to be disagreements in my life. Not just with my family and friends but even with complete strangers. Maybe not arguments about serious things - my brother hiding all of my Barbies or peeking during a game of hide and seek - but arguments, nevertheless. And sometimes the best way to win an argument is to say nothing. My mom always said, "Less is more."
Oh, and I eventually found the garbage cans.
Editor's note: Chelsey Roath is a student at Northern Michigan University. Her biweekly column on college life in Marquette runs on Sundays. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.