A few years ago, I realized the life I knew was coming to an end. My life as the daughter of my parents was coming to an end with my mother’s illness. My life as the wife of my soon to be ex husband was also coming to an end with our divorce. My extended family is mostly in Ohio, and I wasn’t about to go back to Cleveland after loving 20+ years of Florida weather. I was an only child and then I didn’t have children of my own, so if I didn’t act quickly it was going to be just me. And that scared the sh*t out of me. I had to do something.
in 2015, I decided to embark on “choosing” a family. This is a very different process than dealing with the family you’re born into. When you’re born into a family, you’re at the mercy of your care givers until you’re old enough to fend for yourself. Sometimes people hit the jack pot and get great parents. Sometimes the parents you get are a hot mess and you’re left holding a bag of dysfunctions and misery. Thankfully, I came from a good family. My remaining living family members are remarkable and special to me, but we don’t see each other very often. They live far away and they have their own families to care for. Should something ever happen to me, they may or may not know enough about me to make the right decisions. Rather than pay for their expenses and move them all to Florida, it was time to choose a family.
When you choose a family - you’re in complete control of who you let into your family unit, and who you exclude. It’s a great responsibility and your have to choose very carefully. You are choosing people who might end up caring for you, just as you are choosing to care for them.
When I started doing this, I never told people I was auditioning them to be in my family. I’m actually not sure I was aware of what I was doing. I just found people that I liked being around, and went from there. I found that I enjoyed being around open minded people, who were happy and enjoyed the line of work they chose. I enjoyed being around happy couples who treated each other with respect. I enjoyed intellectually brilliant people, even if they might be a little quirky. I enjoyed people who loved learning and also had a sense of humor.
While I was auditioning people to be in my family, I found a bunch of people I didn’t like. Some of them weren’t very kind. They said things that discouraged or hurt me instead of empowered me. They tried to take advantage of my kindness or use me for some other end game. I found myself consciously choosing and “un-choosing” who got to stay in my world. I set my standards, and when someone fell short I simply voted them out of my family.
Choosing your family is an every day process. In order to find and attract the people you want to be part of your chosen family, it helps a lot if you are similar to the people you want to hang with. We are tribal by nature, so there is truth in the saying “Find the tribe who fits your vibe.”Sometimes this means personal transformation. If you want to hang around positive people, you can not be a negative person. If you want to hang around smart people, you have to constantly educate yourself on various topics.
After a year or so, I had the first members of my chosen family. They welcomed me more than I could ever hope with open arms. Over the years, I added other members to my chosen family, including Committed Boyfriend Doug, who’s been the most amazing soul mate and domestic partner coming up on 3 years now. Even though my chosen family lives all over the country, when we are together, I am home.
Thank you Chosen Family - you know who you are.