It was my birthday the other day, and I don’t know about you, but I always think back to what I was doing on this exact day a few years ago. Sure, I might not be able to remember all of these monumental days, but I can at least compare the one this year to the ones in recent years.
I realised that ever since I started uni three years ago, I’ve opted for birthdays spent with my family more than these monumental days spent with friends. And actually, I’ve realised that often I have opted to turn down social events and various freelance jobs throughout the year just to hang out with my family.
People, and sometimes myself too, don’t understand why. I mean, I still live at home. I can see my family every day. Right? But…
Family is the first thing you’ll miss when you’re out of home
While I haven’t had a long-term attempt at this yet, I can attest to it when I travel alone. Often, I’d arrive at a beautiful place and go: “Mum/dad/my bro would love this!” and then thoughts of a friend might ensue. Somehow, it’s always thoughts of my family first. I’d start wondering about what they were up to, if they were eating well, exercising well, etc. etc…
Family understands you better than anyone else
Whether it’s the fact that I’ve lived with them my whole life, or because of genetics, my family just knows my tendencies. Even as a teenager when I thought I was being rebellious (FYI this was an epic fail), most of the time someone in my family could still anticipate my thoughts and actions. Even till this day I go to my family first for life advice, because even if they have not experienced what I’m about to experience, they know me.
Family is the only thing that’s always there
People change, and we just have to embrace it. Friends might drift apart, or have heated arguments (but hopefully this doesn’t happen). However, family is the thing that’s always there, even if your friendships have derailed. The people in your family are the only ones who will accept you no matter what you have become.
Family is more like having really close friends
The older I get, the better my relationship with my family. It’s so important to build an adult-to-adult relationship with everyone in the family, especially your parents. Once you have respect for each other, you can really start talking to them about serious and stimulating conversations. Let it be climate change, travel, politics, anything but them asking you about school/uni.
You feel most comfortable around you family
The people in your family are the only ones who won’t judge you no matter how weird you are. You shouldn’t have to put a mask on. You shouldn’t have to hold back. It’s important to try and establish the comfortable vibe in the family.
You’ll most likely share some of your interests with your family
A lot of my interests were developed as a child, and those were things that I wouldn’t have been interested in if my family wasn’t there to expose me to them. Chances are, the things you like the things that at least someone in your family will like. Don’t underestimate the power of both genetics and those early years of your life that are so critical and precious.
The clock’s ticking
It’s a sad and confronting truth, but as my parents get older, more health problems have developed. There are times where I worry about the inevitable when. When will be the last time I can take a hike with them, before their bodies just cannot hold it anymore? When might they have to move to a nursing home because they can no longer perform everyday routines? When might they hold my child?
As people say, time flies. And hell yeah it does as it seems like I had my last birthday yesterday. I want to treasure my family as much as I can, because as bleak as it sounds, who knows what might happen tomorrow?