Dear 100 Hour Board,
How do you define family?
I define family in a few different ways. First is the biological definition: family are the people with whom one shares a significant portion of genetic material with. Second, there is family under law. This expands the family to include ties by marriage, adoption, etc.
Aside from these more pedantic definitions, I view family as the people with whom I am comfortable displaying every aspect of my personality combined with an atmosphere of mutual caring. Currently this includes my immediate blood family along with siblings in law, roommates (they're all awesome), and my ACME cohort/study group.
Family is the group of people that you choose to love unconditionally. It usually incorporates blood relations, because those are the people you spend the most time with and know the best and therefore have the most capacity to love. But anytime you choose to love someone in spite of differences or distance, in my mind they become your family.
Well, that's a tough question. Personally, I think family is the people who love you and who you love back unconditionally. Sort of like what Auto Surf says, it's the people who you feel like you belong around. Who are there to lift you back up when you've fallen down. Who you would give everything to keep happy and safe. For some people, that's their biological family, and for others, they find their family a little later in life. But I think that regardless of how they're made up, those kinds of relationships are what give life meaning and true joy.
Also, in a way, I guess in a spiritual sense we're all family. I think about that every so often, how every person I'll ever meet is a child of God and inherently connected to something greater than any of us. Sometimes, that feeling gives me a sense of awe. It's like that C.S. Lewis quote about how (and this is paraphrasing) if we could see anybody's true, divine nature, we would feel the urge to worship at their feet. I want to get better at that, recognizing that connection and treating everyone I meet with the compassion and respect that feeling evokes. When you're surrounded by so many people, you forget just how good each one is sometimes.
Family is home, and home is a feeling of wholeness and belonging.
According to one of the greatest Disney movies ever made, "Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten."
So if there's someone you won't leave behind, whether physically or emotionally, and you will never forget them, they're part of your family.
-guppy of doom, who has a much bigger family than she realized