Family or friends?

May 1, 2012

in Friendship, Personal

This is another special request post! (Sounds good but I really only have two and a half readers really and one of them is married to me).

It’s for a post about birthdays – I had one recently. Particularly about celebrating them, or perhaps not, since they are just about adding another year, which must inevitably involve losing another year.

I refused to celebrate a landmark birthday, partly for that reason and partly because I thought there was not much to celebrate, given I had arrived at that date just by living. A bit of a ‘so what?’

I was thinking, we should celebrate good news, good luck, excitements. I thought about those landmark birthday celebrations in great age when you think everyone is thinking ‘the next time we’ll meet will be for the funeral’ and how I so don’t want that..

But I thought then – those celebrations are often family orientated. They are about a kind of ritual family getting together – people with little in common but their origins meeting to acknowledge those origins and their connection to each other.

A bit different from celebrating with friends. I can expect real connection then, with people who really like me (maybe..there’s another post!). I love to bring my friends together so they at least know one another and can enjoy such occasions with people they know and have an interest in. Hopefully no-one will then be sitting next to someone they have nothing in common with, drearily dredging up conversation.

It may be one of the great changes in our world – this shift to the freedoms of friendships from the obligations of family. Most of us keep a foot in both camps. Some derive great pleasure from all of their family members – are they the exceptions? Some friendships can become like family over time, and not in a good way – obligation and responsibility where the vital connection and real mutual interest has faded.

Interesting question – who do we want to celebrate what with? And why?

Veddw, sitting room ceiling copyright Anne Wareham



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