The Family We Choose
While we can’t pick our parents, siblings, and cousins, you can definitely choose your family.
By Jessica Johnson
We all know the saying: “you can’t choose your family.” It usually comes right after a blowup, let down, or unpleasant experience with someone related to you. Those sentiments, however, are only partially true. While we can’t pick our parents, siblings, and cousins, you can definitely choose your family.
As much as we hate to admit it, some family structures aren’t that secure. A parent dies, or divorces and moves away. Sometimes there’s dysfunction or even worse. And these circumstances that make you feel alone. While what doesn’t kill us make us stronger, it helps to know that there’s someone, somewhere who cares. If you can’t find that support at home, you have the right to create the connections and community you deserve. If you think you have no one, you may have overlooked your attachments in a few key places.
Most adults will spend a third of their lives at work (depressing, but true). While we know that every job isn’t the c-suite, there’s no way you can spend so much time in a place without making a few friends. When projects and challenges arise, the one or two people you call on in a crunch are still valuable relationships. If you don’t have those reliable colleagues yet, take a beat and try to meet people around your workspace or go to the company happy hour. You never know what bonds could be built, and in a career setting, teamwork could lead to more money in the bank. That’s definitely a win-win.
Your Community Organization
Personally, joining a sorority as one of the best decisions I ever made. Not only am I part of a greater mission for worldwide community service, my sorority sisters are just as much family as my dearly departed grandmother. If sororities and frats aren’t your thing, a quick search will find you a plethora of groups and organizations that can align with your interests. Not only will you build personal bonds, but when people come together in a community, the outcome is more than just making friends, you can truly make an impact where you live.
(Surprisingly) Social Media
Despite those who use it in the worst way possible (like our political leaders), social media is another good place to make connections. When used as it is intended, social media can help you find people with like interest, close to you, who may even be willing to meet up in person. With billions of people connecting online daily, your new family just may be a click away.
When we leave our homes and venture into the world, new bonds are formed. You attend school and make friends, you join clubs and organizations, and at work you have co-workers. Before you know it, you have many mini universes swirling all around you. Within them you face challenges, triumphs, highs and lows and you face them together. Just like a family would. No one should face this world alone. So if your biological family doesn’t give you the support that you need, remember that you still have choices. You can create the community you need.