On Family

By Luis H. Garay
@Luis HGaray

My friends are my family. My family is my family. They are both families in different ways. One keeps me inextricably linked to my culture and my heritage; they support me through and through. The other keeps me focused on my goals and aspirations; they affirm me when I may not always believe in myself. Both families love me unconditionally.

I’ve been re-watching the Sex and the City series. I’m a die-hard fanatic and love the show. I always seem to re-watch the series to provide some clarity or insight into my own life. This past weekend it did. Towards the end of one episode Carrie Bradshaw says, ““The most important thing in life is your family. There are days you love them, and others you don't. But, in the end, they're the people you always come home to. Sometimes it's the family you're born into and sometimes it's the one you make for yourself.” This quote spoke to me about a personal aspect of my life that I have been neglecting: forming a family in the city/town I live in.

As I said above, my friends are my family. I’ve been fortunate and blessed to have had a family not related by blood in all the places I have lived in. But it is something that I do not have currently where I live. I have been focused on work and making sure I am doing my work “right." My personal life has 
somewhat fallen by the wayside . Establishing a family of friends, of people I am not related to by blood, has not been a focus of mine.

I do count myself fortunate for I am able to call the people I work with my family. (Shout out to my #CCCFam!) However, I am not used to viewing the people I work with as family. My family up to this point has been friends brought together by a common interest (theatre, mostly) or a common identity (identifying as people of color). Perhaps now my family (my #CCCFam) are people who have a common interest (diversity, social justice), have a common identity (are people of color), and work in the same office. Perhaps now my family looks a little different than what I am used to.

One resolve I have made with myself this semester is to focus on my personal life with as much focus as I do my work life. Whether it’s finding people who I can call a family or meeting new people or experiencing my new home/city I want to do more for myself outside work. I not only enjoy my work but truly love what I do. It challenges me. It provides learning and growth. Some days are more tough than others. But, the lessons learned are invaluable.

How do you define family? What resolve are you making in the new year to focus on personal aspects of your life? Comment below or tweet me at @LuisHGaray. As always, thanks for reading!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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