This Is It - 2021
2021-02-01 00:00:00 (UTC)

What is Family?


I'm in an anthropology class centered around family trends across cultures and time this semester. The most recent chapter I had to read detailed how research is done in that area of study - primarily through interviews of really old people, censuses, and (you may have guessed it) dairies/journals! So I decided to focus this entry as if a family-focused anthropologist years in the future might find this and use it for data.

Okay - I just turned 21 and I'm in college. I share an apartment with two of my friends who also are in college, though at the beginning of COVID lockdown I switched to primarily spending my time at my mother's place taking care of the house and my sister while my mom works. Of the people in my friend group - aged 20 (x3), 21 (x2), and 22 (x1) - none of us are married. I don't think any of us are in serious relationships, let alone considering a wedding anytime in the near future. I'm not sure I actually know anyone my age in real life that's married. That's a bit weird to consider, since at 21 my parents had me and got married. And now at 21 I've never dated anyone. I definitely don't know anyone my age (in real life) with kids. I know we're adults and everything but it does not feel like we are old enough for things like marriage and children yet (not an uncommon opinion here - thus why I know no one my age who's married or a parent).

Family-wise my family is super about the REAL "Blood is thicker than water" - "The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb." By which I mean we don't define family or loyalty by genetics and chance. We choose our family. My textbook says non-blood relatives you consider family are technically called "Fictive kin" which I am ABSOLUTELY not going to call them for obvious gen z reasons (I am not going into the concepts of "fictives" or "kinning" here). But I grew up with grandparents who were my mother's best friend's parents - their other daughter is my aunt, her children my cousins. I'm not biologically related to any of them, but my parents taught me young that that's not what determines family. And now my sister and I refer to our closest friends as family, just the same. (I doubt I will place much weight in the strict ideals of the nuclear family if/when I have kids but as that is purely hypothetical at the moment I cannot give an assured answer on that)

And those were the two major points, I believe - Age of first marriage/child and how people defined family. Now I kind of want to see a trend where people draw their family but they draw who THEY would consider their family, not bound by DNA. I think it's neat to see the families people build for themselves.

Doodling a family map...

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