Friends: your family by choice

Charlene Belew

Charlene Belew
Managing Editor

Everybody needs somebody.

Throughout life, we all come across people that we feel we cannot live without. These people, in turn, become a unique family to us. There are a variety of definitions for family: there’s blood family, there’s extended family and then there is this unique family by choice.

Photo submitted by Charlene Belew

Photo submitted by Charlene Belew

I like to call them battle buddies.
I was speaking to a friend of mine and we stumbled upon the topic of depression and what family really means to someone, even if that person is miles away from home. These topics go hand in hand, because in reality, being away from the people you love most is one of the more difficult things experienced in life.

Thus, it can, and probably will lead to the feeling of being alone.
Said friend of mine has been miles away from home for months in the pursuit of changing his own life for the better. In recent months, he has become a changed man by leaving for basic to join the ranks of the Navy. He continues to change from day to day.

His situation, or any similar to it, can be difficult.

While talking to him, I realized that in reality, we are never alone. I am never alone. He is never alone. It’s because of the nontraditional family we have formed.

Miles mean nothing. Family, traditional or not, can travel with you – not always physically, but spiritually and mentally. As long as love and support are still there, no matter where you are on the globe, you are never alone.
See, the thing about life is that people come and go.

Photo submitted by Jacob Jardel

Photo submitted by Jacob Jardel

But battle buddies are people that are picked up throughout your life and somehow never leave. It’s like playing a game of “Final Fantasy.” You meet characters throughout your adventure that join your party in the never-ending quest for life.

You better just hope they’re a high enough level to go where you are going.

When you meet these people, you don’t really know where they came from or what you’re in for; you just know that you are in for the long haul. Forever.
It doesn’t matter the distance between you and your friends, whether they are here or there. I have friends all over the United States, all once from here. Our physical lives may separate, but when friendships are rooted in strong foundation, we never separate.
Family can come from many places. My group of battle buddies is constructed of a variety of characters. It doesn’t matter their skin color, their gender, their sexuality, their location, their age, their height or their weight.

What matters is the relationship between us.

Photo submitted by Charlene Belew

Photo submitted by Charlene Belew

I know without a shadow of a doubt that the people I surround myself now will still be here with me years down the road. And that’s really the point of having battle buddies. They are there for you, regardless of location or situation. Wherever you are going, they are going, and vice versa.

I’ve found my battle buddies. Have you found yours?


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