Life is a funny thing. You are taught values, morals, ethics, right vs wrong, and the way of your family all as a child but when you become an adult you start to find your own way. As kids, typically, your parents teach you family is what you have. As an adult we start learning that family is those around us that support us and are actively in our lives. This causes a struggle as adults trying to balance life between careers, family, extended family and friends. Do we really need this struggle? Shouldn’t we just follow what our hearts tell us and not be so worried for everyone’s approval?
Recently I lost my mom to a long cancer battle. And I have a lot of great and wonderful memories with her and she taught me a lot. I also have realized as an adult I have to have my own beliefs that make me whole. As the family gathered and we went through all the normal stages I sat back and watched as my family unraveled. Then I thought wow, this is my family and has always been my family. They disagree, fight, get mad, don’t communicate well and are very negative. When a family is going through a death this is all a recipe for a toxic environment. I wondered why aren’t we lifting each other up and helping each other through this. This brought me to thinking about growing up and all the things our mom taught us. She taught me to be kind to people, she use to tell me to kill them with kindness. She taught me to work hard and climb the ladder of success by showing my skills not kissing butts or being underhanded. We grew up poor, we had no privileges. She owned a business and worked full time at nights. We all had jobs at 15, bought our own cars, paid our own way and met the struggles of life head on. Now as adults we have all gone our own way and found our own families yet we still hang on to each other. The way we hang on to each other can be toxic though. We don’t listen to what the others are truly getting out of life. We aren’t present enough to get to know each other therefore when we are together it is a negative interaction with everyone thinking their way is the right way and getting mad or hurt when it doesn’t go their way. We forget that life isn’t fair. Life can’t be all about participation trophies and giving away what we earned. On the other hand though we do need compassion and patience with others and an understanding it’s okay for us to have different wants, paths and beliefs. It’s okay to listen and not voice a negative opinion and its okay for the flow to change in order to accommodate others as well. My mom valued family and wanted nothing more than her children to all be best friends but in reality we all have separate lives. When we all put aside our differences and just be present in each other’s lives we see the value in each other and just may learn something cool about each other that we didn’t know.
I have found that my family has changed now that I am half way thru my adulthood. My family has become more of the friends that are in my life consistently and the ones that take the time to call, well text because who actually calls anyone any more, and just says hey what are up to today or ask how something went. To keep those members as family we have to reciprocate with doing the same thing.
I want to remind everyone to just be present in each other’s lives. Don’t forget to stop, slow down and take time to say hey how’s it going today and really listen to those that you love and that love you back be it blood family or those friends that have become family. Before you know it those loved ones could be gone and you are left pondering if you did enough to be present in their life.