Family isn’t always what, or who, you think it is. In fact, you’re going to find your real, true family in so many more people and places than just blood relations. Some of the ones you’re related to will stay and grow with you, and you will be happy to call them family. Because they chose to be. But the ones you grow apart from and the ones you had to walk away from are not your family. Maybe they chose to be someone else’s. Maybe they chose to seek other things in life. Maybe they didn’t really understand the concept of family at all. But that doesn’t mean your family has to be smaller or nonexistent. Because you’re free to choose your family too.
Your friends will be some of the best family you’ll ever know. You meet, you connect, and then you choose them and they choose you. No predetermined relation or forced connection. You’ll just find yourself laughing with them, crying with them, being there on their wedding days and holding their hands when they lose themselves. You may even fall in love with one of them. Friendships are life’s way of showing us that family sometimes goes beyond what we’re taught it is. It goes beyond mom and dad and sister and brother. The ones we can’t pick. Friendships are choice, they’re freedom. We could walk away but we don’t.
Sometimes our friends will step in when our real families didn’t. Absent fathers, absent mothers, and toxic relatives. You’re better off without them. Don’t be fooled by the label of “family” or the fear of losing something that maybe you never really had anyway. You can, and will, find a new family. Your tribe is out there waiting for you.
And then there’s the one you might find love with. The one you’ll build a home with. That’s your family. And it doesn’t matter if you haven’t felt part of a family before that. If you’ve had a happy past or a messy past. You’ll find a brand new future when you meet a love. And isn’t that how every family begins anyway? A choice of two people to be together. A choice to stay together. Blood might be thicker than water, but it’s also heavier. Water carries you so many more places. Water is freedom and happiness.
And after all that, you can still find a sense of family in your own house, the one that you decorate and get to wake up in with the people you filled it with. Maybe your dog or your cat will fill a space in your heart. Maybe your art class or sports team or book club will make you feel like you belong. Maybe you’ll find it standing in a confetti filled arena with thousands of people watching the same concert along with you. Maybe your job gives you joy, a place to escape to. Or your colleagues could be the annoying but wonderful brothers or sisters you never had. Maybe the solitude you find is enough; maybe you are enough for yourself sometimes. When you look around, there are so many people and places that can feel like your home. And I think that wherever you feel at home, you can make that your family.