friends, Friends, family and communal living
November 14, 2009
“It’s about sex, love, relationships, careers, a time in your life when everything’s possible. And it’s about friendship because when you’re single and in the city, your friends are your family.”
This was the words used by producers David Crane and Marta Kauffman and Kevin Bright, when first pitching it to NBC. I’ve played around with the understanding of “family” a lot over the past few years as well. Living in the liminal space of post-school pre-marriage life, when you’re “family” is hundreds of kilometers away, and you are creating a new life, pushes the definitions we use. I often asked myself the question: “who would you instinctively call when you are in serious trouble right now?” To make it practical I’d ask: “who would you call if it’s 3 AM in the morning, you’re 200 km from anyone you know, and you’re car broke down somewhere?”
There is people who are friends. You visit them from time to time, you share experiences, you spend time together because you enjoy it, you share stuff because you trust each other. And then there are friends who doesn’t fit the description of “best friends”, but rather become “family”. YOu share life together, you irritate each other, you accept each others faults, you know that even if you don’t see each other for months, there is some kind of bond which keep you together. In this world where extended families in many cases really doesn’t work, and especially for those of us who only have family on a distance, friends are our family.
And then you get living together. I’m finishing up another year of communal living, and starting a next. Moved into community with 6 other people on December 31 2008, and got married on January 4 2009. And spent our first year of marriage in community. And even though we are married, friends became our family.
You can spend years deciphering the critique of postmodern philosophers and theologians on individualism, and on listening to the “other”, and it would have worth. But try living with the other, try giving up your individuality by sharing the space you have with another, outside of the nice pre-set rules modern society lay out for the nuclear family, or whatever form of family you might find yourself in. This become part of the critique of modern society, of consumerism and individualism, in practice.