Thoughts on Family and Happiness

Family, for me, is a conundrum.

On one hand I am fairly positive that family – if you dedicate yourself to it – is probably the most rewarding and fulfilling thing about life. On the other hand – opening yourself up to a group of people takes a lot of work and effort. There is love and belonging, but you are also subject to heartache, anger, and betrayal. There is unparalleled love and comfort- then there is your mom committing suicide and your dad’s methamphetamine addiction.

Family is Good

For example, some of my best memories are of when I was a chubby kid running around with my cousins during the holidays. I remember going to my Grandmother’s house and the entire family circled around the table for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

I remember the butterflies in my stomach the night before because I couldn’t wait to eat serving after serving of home-cooked-southern-fried-everything. I remember the turkey and dressing, the potato salad, the sweet tea, the laughs, and the feeling of belonging. I remember my chubby face and bowl cut – never happier. There was no place on earth I belonged more.

Family can be a real bitch

In contrast I know all too well the feelings of betrayal and anger by those same bastards I call family. I remember the stressful Christmas’s when all I wanted is for my parents to get along. I remember the shit my childhood turned into. I think of the blame I lay on my Grandmother. I think of all the things that have resulted in long rants on this very blog.


Then my thoughts turn to my wife. I see the amazing, almost disgusting, family she has. I feel such an awkward appreciation toward what they have. I see all the makings of true happiness and I am simultaneously annoyed by it.  Too many emotions my body has built no mechanism to deal with.


The most important thing in life and also the most painful – family. The decision to accept and forgive or to avoid and create new. Not knowing what to do – it makes you realize just how human you are, how fragile, even when you want to seem tough.

I’m not sure what makes a person truly happy in life, but the older I become the more I realize that family is an inevitable and necessary part of the equation. So in the end the only option is to embrace it. Embrace family.

But as smart as I think I am sometimes – I still have no idea how to go about it.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Family and Happiness

  1. John Barron

    Family is tough. We seem to be more offended by things family does than when strangers do it to us, whatever it may be. We treat family with more spite and degrading attitude that we would find reprehensible if done to us or if we saw it being done to another.

    I shouldn’t feel this way, but more often than not, I think the idea and concept of family is much better than real families. Family is important as a structure and foundation for healthy adulthood, but it is so often abused it’s a wonder anyone is normal.

    1. Atticus Post author

      “more often than not, I think the idea and concept of family is much better than real families.”

      I think that is a very good point.


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