Us, humans have a natural instinct to belong. To have a multitude of wires that connect us to people and places. To be part of something, to have roots that can give us wings. This sounds a bit contradictory, I know, but it’s not. Without a strong foundation, how can anything grow and develop their full potential? Just look at trees and you’ll understand what I’m saying.
The first environment where we experience this belonging is within the family, which, for the lucky ones, also includes the extended members: grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts. The dynamics that happen within a family changes during the years, but that invisible thread that connects everyone together makes it survive.
When you’re a kid, your family is your entire world, then you grow up and want to be more independent so, you take some distance from them to explore the world on your own, then you realise you actually don’t have that much in common with your family members, that you are an individual of the modern days and their ideas are so far behind.
Then you grow a bit wiser and realise they are actually right in so many ways when it comes to the fundamentals of life and you surprisingly discover that your behaviour has traits inherited from the family. You are part of them and they are part of you.
So, despite all the drama that goes in a family, because – isn’t it? – no respectable family exists without the fights and the quarrels between their members, when shit hits the fan, where do you go for support and recharge? Who is there for you unconditionally?
Now, in our contemporary society, when the individual needs are praised above all, how is the concept of family fitting in?
Well, maybe not as much as it used to be in the past and not necessarily defined by a bloodline, but it is there. I like to call it chosen family.
What do I mean by that? I mean the most intimate circle of people that you let in your life. You may consider them friends, but these are the friends that have been with you since you don’t remember when (sometimes even more than a partner), that always had your back and you theirs, that irrespective of situation and moment in your life, they were there. Especially during your worst periods.
If you have at least one person in your life that fits that description, you should consider yourself most fortunate for having that sense of belonging. Which, in the end, is what everyone wants.
Coming back to the question in the title of the article: is family obsolete nowadays? Definitely not! In fact, it’s enriched with other, more subtle nuances which expand its traditional definition.
I would say it’s even more valuable in the era of individualism, depression and search for meaning. Having the roots that can give you the wings.
So, dearie, what is family for you? And what do you consciously do to keep the togetherness feeling alive within your (chosen) family?