Your logical family
As someone who’s not married and doesn’t have kids (the nuclear definition of a family being “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household”), I don’t have – to most of society -have a ‘family’.
Sure I was born into a family and they’re still around, albeit 3,200 miles away; but to most people, being without a spouse and kids means I don’t actually have ‘my own’ family. Collective *awww*
The traditional family is a concept that seems to be fading fast for a society when 44% of all Americans are single and there are currently 26 million couples without kids. It looks like a lot of us don’t have our own ‘families’ using the nuclear definition. So what is family today if its not the nuclear 2 + 2?
According to Rogets, family can be “a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head” that means you guys with the very bossy housemate. Family, whether you want it or not, (time to revisit that lease agreement). ‘Under one head’? What is this? 1948?
Family can also be “a unit of a crime syndicate (as the Mafia) operating within a geographical area” to which I want to state, I am not, nor have ever slept with a horses head or dropped a bag of oranges. And unless I’m mistaken, you need connections to join that type of family. Which I don’t have.
Ah. Here’s one. Family is “a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation”. Which, while that does include the Manson’s, it also encompasses the reality for most of us singles or 1+1. I think this might be my type of family.. a group of people who are united by random thoughts or ideas, similarities or ‘Likes’. The family we choose. Our ‘logical’ family.
This family – whether we call it such or not – is the one we have sought out, acquired, supported and sheltered through the years. We’re united by any number of things; our lack of kids or partners; our shared enthusiasm for lifting heavy weights; a secret obsession with heirloom tomatoes, God, cycling, food, yoga or just a common interest in going out and getting crazy once in a while. But whatever brings us together, for whatever reason and for however long, these people are to me, my family.
People with actual nuclear families call these people ‘friends’, but for those of us without significant others or kids, or even blood relatives nearby, these people are our ‘In case of emergency’, our iPhone ‘Favorites’, our ‘post surgery’ rides and always, the ‘Oh shit I need you’ network. Which, if you’re coupled up, tends to be your partner. For us.. its our network or ‘family’. Our ‘families’ are as tight as any bound by blood, but with the tacit agreement that our relationship is built on respect and friendship, a shared understanding that we need each other, rather than any expectation.
My logical family knows that comfort and support isn’t always found within the bounds of a union or automatically by virtue of birth. That its not derived by location, time or age and its not a closed circle. My logical family grows and shrinks all the time, finding new members in the most random and unexpected places, but all bound (in my head), by their willingness to understand, guide, counsel, comfort, share and celebrate with me.
And while I would, in another lifetime, have loved to have my own nuclear family, I know for me, my logical family is the one I am happy to be embraced by. And as I get older I know that I won’t have kids to help me find my glasses, monitor my sanity or making sure that I don’t turn into a hermit. I’ll have my ‘family’.
After all, they say it takes a village.. and we all need somebody. And I’m blessed to have about 6 somebodies who I know will be there if and when I need them.
So if you, like me, have a lonely moment or two, or wonder about how your ‘poor single friend’ survives the holidays ‘all on our own’, bear the following in mind;
- Logical families regenerate all the time. If your ‘family’ feels small right now, you don’t need to wait 9 months or get married. Get out and meet people.
- Logical families don’t judge our life choices (unless we specifically ask). So you sold your house, adopted 3 dogs and cut off all your hair. Boo – yah! Unless you want our honest opinion.. in which case here’s my therapists phone number girl.
- Logical families don’t give a hoot about our weddings (of lack of). As long as you’re happy, we’re happy.
- Logical families make Thanksgiving a joy. You know there will be plenty of booze, no-one is going to ask you about your job, house, partner, kid status, sexuality and there will be a lot of laughter. With or without your Mom’s green bean receipe
- Logical families have different relationships within them. No, this isn’t a sit com. Just like a blood family, you have your closest family members, your crazy uncle Ned and your second cousin twice removed who you only see a couple of times a year. But everyone your consider part of your family is there because you chose them. Which means you can un-choose them at any time as well.
- And finally, we don’t have to pay for any of our logical family to go to college, buy them a car, put up with their racist, Republican rants, or
So if you’re not currently blessed by a family of your own, or your blood family isn’t quite the supportive loving group you wish it was, consider your logical family. Its bigger and broader than you think. And if its not, you can build one just by stepping outside of your house. No sex required.