Trooper: A happy 80 year old only child.

by on May 30, 2012

in Guest Onlies

Here is a heart warming story from ‘Trooper’ who celebrates his life as an only child demonstrating the challenges and ways to overcome them.

I am now in my eighty third year and I am an “only child”.  I have never married, I have never felt the need to be tied. I walked away from all family ties after my mother passed away in 1982 (my father having pre deceased her) even before this I had little contact with the family at large for a number of years (my choice).

It was made very plain to me at the age of six that I would be the only one, there would be no other siblings, so I had best understand I was to be my own man. My father was a professional soldier, and working hard to improve his position, my mother was a senior Civil Servant in the Foreign Office, so I grew up in a caring but very disciplined environment, this stood me in very good stead for later years: I lacked for nothing.

My father decided that I should, from the age of five, attend the nearest Army school where I received a very tough but very good early education. This was where I first began to realise that being an only had advantages, I did not have to side with, or defend siblings and I could do or not do as I wished, within reason. I very soon realised that I was master of my own destiny and I felt that my destiny was to be a leader.

At eight I was dispatched to prep school as a boarder and I enjoyed every minute of it. At ten I went to public school (this was at some sacrifice to my parents to whom I shall be eternally gratefull). This was a magic time for me – I adored school – there were no parents to chide you no family to offer a critique of your conduct etc, and as an only child I was able to be me. I made the most of school, I did not fag, indeed I offered violence to anybody who tried to make me (I am no man’s servant). I was captain of the Rugby 15 and in my senior year, Captain of School. I fully accept that so far this all sounds very arrogant and self-serving, but I can only say to anyone: “Please do not be a doormat and let people bully you, they will because as an only child they think you are inadequate. Show them you can do whatever they think they can do, lead do not follow”.

At 17 I joined the Army and there I stayed for 25 yrs reaching senior rank. I served all over the world. This is another bonus of being an only, you have no baggage so you can take advantage of the many opportunities that come along. Shortly after leaving the Army I felt that I needed to be challenged so I offered my services to an army in another country and was accepted due to my skills. I remained there for 10 yrs again gaining senior rank. I eventually returned to the UK and set up my own company and then sold it on.

I have to observe that many only children refuse to come to terms with what they are and feel that have been dealt a bad hand. You are what you make yourself.  Life is for living, so grab it with both hands, and say to the world that: “I am the best because there is only one like me – no copies”. As for me I have got a lot more living to do yet and I shall enjoy them all because I am an ONLY CHILD.


  • DanielaLCutler

    I think you are an inspiration not because you are an only child but because you are the positive go getter tht you have always been. Thank you for the story and congratulations on living (and continuing to live) such an inspirational journey.

  • Geri in CA

    I am an only child with no children too.  I am currently 46 years old and I often wonder what it would be like to grow older and have no parents or siblings.  Thank you for sharing your positive story.  You are indeed an inspiration  

  • Laura in Fl

    It seems like you’ve had a great life and have done a great effort to become the best person you can be. However, I don’t think it had anything to do with being an only child (just based on what you wrote). You say that as an only child you “have no baggage”… mmm I don’t have any baggage either and I have a brother. You say that you could “do anything at school”… mmm I could do anything at school too, only in my senior year had I the possibility to see my brother at school, but even then I don’t ever remember seeing him at lunch (he is only 3 years younger than me). Also you say that people would bully you for being an only child and you had to learn to defend yourself…. but believe me, my brother has never defended me, and actually I had to learned to defend myself from him first than anyone else; and to be honest kids bully other kids for many reasons and they have to learn to defend themselves cause no one will come defend them (I don’t really know many siblings who defend each other, most fight each other, and only a few defend each other and have a really good relationship). I have a brother, and I too can say that “there is only one like me – no copies”.

  • Gigi

    I am an only child and now adult of 46 yrs. At the end of Troopers writing he mentions about bullying. I was a target from elementary to High school and I understand why now. My father put me into Tae Kwon Do at the age of 13 yrs and I trained 4 times a week for 5 years. It really gave me confidence and I appreciated that he supported me. Being an only child has it’s positives and negatives.

    I don’t have any relatives, no children, my dad passed away 19 years ago and my mom is currently 86. I’ve been married for 4 years. I believe my journey of being an only child prepared me for being alone and how to cope with that.

    I found Trooper’s mention very inspirational and strong and he/she seems like an exceptional person. It makes me happy to be an only child like he/she.

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