Being Related Doesn't Make Us Family.

Even though the family is the most fundamental unit of society, something I've struggled with for all of my adult life is the answer to this question: "Are you family oriented?"

I don't know, am I?

I grew up in a VERY big extended family, but outside of those most closely related, I don't know much about them, don't see them often, and don't particularly care to. Don't get me wrong, relatives are cool, but there's something missing that I'm not willing to fake for anyone.

Now my friends on the other hand? That's a totally different story. The saying goes "The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb" and honestly nothing is more true than this. I love all of my friends deeply and fiercely. I'm willing to sacrifice for, celebrate, and accept them for who they are, because they return the energy tenfold. 

But back to that question...if I say no, I'm not family oriented, then I sound like a pessimistic anarchist or something. I am not anti! So how do I reconcile the two groups of people, that which I was born into, and those whom I've chosen? Well, to answer that question, another must be asked:

What is family? To me, it is:
  • support
    • physically show up
    • financially contribute
    • emotionally + spiritually nourish
  • commonality
    • complimentary goals
    • complimentary experiences
  • a choice
    • conscious effort to maintain the structure despite personal obstacles and outside forces
From my perspective, family can consist of relatives, but all relatives aren't family. 

So, am I a family oriented person? Yes! I respect and care for my family, blood related or not, more than any other group of people. HOWEVER, I am NOT a relative-oriented person, and I probably never will be; a common ancestor just isn't good enough.

What does family mean to you?

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