Its a Family Thing

27 02 2011

I was reading Islands Magazine at Barnes and Nobles the other day and came across this awesome article about the happiest people in the world.  Guess what?  It wasn’t Americans.  Shocker.

No, it was these people on this tiny island that don’t even have internet. They barely have any modern conveniences at all. But what they do have, according to them, is family.  And they count their community relations right along with their blood kin.  Just wonderful.

Americans, on the other hand, gripe about their in-laws, groan about holiday gatherings and worry more about material possessions than calling their mother. When was the last time you called your mom?  Or dad?  How about grandma?

I think this tiny, remote island chain that nobody’s heard of (I can’t remember the name of it and I didn’t buy the magazine…) really has it figured out.  Their lives revolve around family and community.  One little island doesn’t even have a currency!  They don’t need it!  Talk about living simply.me and my big brother at crater lake

But I really think this is where Americans go wrong. I know I do.  And I’m very close to my family.  Unusually so, compared to a lot of my friends.  My sister is one of my roommates, and her favorite phrase is we’re “tight like butt cheeks.”  I used to live with my brother as well.  And even though we now live really far apart (Texas and Oregon) I talk to my brother every couple days.  Thank goodness for the cell phone and internet, since I like to move around so much.

When you think about it, it really does make sense.  Your family is pretty much the only ones who have to love you no matter what.  And if we had more sense of community, closer connections with our neighbors or whoever, I think we would be a happier country.  Capitalism doesn’t help, in my opinion.  Its not about money, people!  Stop being so greedy!

Despite the fact that I now live about 1800 miles from most of my relatives, I feel I’m a happy person.  Maybe this is because I not only have my sister with me, but we’ve created a little “family” for ourselves up here.  It consists of our close circle of friends, co-workers, class mates, and real family members.  We have family dinners once every week or so, and we all take care of each other when anyone needs a hand.  Its an eccentric, non-traditional, pretty wacky little family, but a family all the same.

I feel like unhappiness stems from loneliness, feeling like no one cares.  Family, blood or not, gives you that sense that someone out there wants you around and cares about what happens to you.  They are there to help in times of need, taking away the stress of feeling like all worry is yours to bare alone.  And family relationships, good or not that great, make us who we are.

Oh, and now I really want to live on an island…

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