The ‘Family’ Doctor
I am surrounded by my family. Literally, my parents and my brother live within five miles of my house. This makes for very convenient holiday get-togethers, Sunday night dinners, and borrowing pots and pans, crock pots and baking dishes. But today, as I thought about conversations I had and encounters I watched, I discovered the Unexpected Health that does not always share the same gene pool…with family.
Now, today’s post is not so much about the health we discover unexpectedly with our nuclear families. There are both health benefits and dis-ease that can frame any old family portrait. Instead, today I thought about how healthy it is for us to expand our definitions of family.
I am very fortunate. I have an extremely close relationship with my family. But many cannot share in my fortune. I also live close to my family, which many do not have that same luxury. But, no matter how close or how far you may be from your blood relatives, family (just like home…see Day 19) can be created anywhere, with anybody…and knowing that you have ‘family’ in your life, watching your back, is healthy.
I was sitting in the hotel common area in Boulder, writing yesterday’s health insight. I noticed a group of men playing a friendly game of pool and after a few minutes, one of them came over to say “hello.” Tex was his name. He had come to Boulder five years ago, and his company had put him up in this hotel while finishing a job. Five years later and Tex is still staying at that hotel…as a permanent resident. I watched as Tex talked to all of the wait staff, the housekeepers, the bartenders. Tex had found his home, his family, at a place—a hotel—that is commonly used for passers-through, weekend visitors, and business travelers. But for Tex, he created a family in the circumstances, the life, he was dealt.
Not everyone is blessed with family closeness. Not every person is lucky enough to live near their family, and others want to live as far away from their relatives as possible. So, we have an incredible health opportunity to create a ‘family’—friends and loved ones who you know you can count on, depend on, and lean on—even if our blood types, hair color, and eye colors do not match. Family is more than the last name we are born into. Families are those loved ones who, at the end of the day, you know will be there the next. So the next time you feel you are far away from your ‘home’ or emotionally distant from your relatives, remember that family is what you create and nurture; it is the closeness you generate with the people in your life…even if those people are your hotel neighbors in the next room. –Until tomorrow, Jaime
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