Now that the holidays are behind us, and most of us nine-to-fivers are back to our daily lives of the everyday hustle and grind, we are free to put any dysfunctional family encounters to bed, or store any loving memories in the warm side of our hearts. Regardless of personal feelings towards your own families--blood related or not--those closest to you serve a significant purpose, and every second spent with them should truly be cherished. Before you let out a long sigh of grotesque disinterest regarding that last comment, and exit out of this post faster than you would a dirty pop-up during office hours, allow me to elaborate?
Family doesn't primarily consist of those we are born unto. Sure, we are all bred from two human beings we were unable to choose, and like branches on a tree we may divide and multiply to become a large or small unit, sharing blood, DNA, genealogy that dates back to the beginning of mankind, and sometimes, so much more. Having eminent scientific commonalities with another human does not mean for a second, however, that one will also share common feelings and beliefs. Enter "Family Dysfunction 101": when you are bound by blood, but widely separated by everything else. For many, knowing a single blood relative was never an option. They were abandoned long before their memories formed, or they had an early glimpse, only to lose it all later on. For others, they chose to abandon their own families for reasons only known to them, making it a personal choice to set out solo, and build their kinship, their very own tribe, with those they personally choose to be related to. This is the beauty of freedom, no matter how painful it can be. Since the beginning of time, man has built a family for the purpose of creating their very own army. A support system of trusted fellows, meant to be nurtured and to nurture in return. A brood to carry you, and fight for you, no matter what. If this man is unable to procreate for reasons of choice, circumstance, or science, then that man has the option of forming his own army, his own tribe with likeminded individuals through friendship and love with all of those same familial standards attached. Either way this life unfolds for you, finding and securing your tribe, or nurturing the one you were given even amongst the most dysfunctional of times is a rite of passage we must seek for ourselves. Life is hard enough for the most conditioned loner, having at least one other heartbeat to lean on and turn to when times get tough, or someone to celebrate the best of times only sweetens and toughens our individual souls. Even if that one heartbeat carries fur and four legs, or isn't quite old enough to drive. It is scientifically proven after all, that hugs are the only real cure for the common cold. It takes just two bodies for a proper squeeze. That's more than enough to constitute a "family".
For a lot of us, the older we get the more our families mean to us. The days get shorter and so do our elders, and before we know it we are hit with the realization that both the good times and bad could be behind us for eternity. Find your tribe, through blood or by choice, and spend a little time with them. Sometimes it's painful and other times it's sweet. Both, oddly enough, can only eventually be cherished when you least expect it, and before it's too late.