Last week, when I was about to leave RMIT for home, my colleague suddenly asked me a question: “Tuan Anh, friends or relatives, who first?”. In no time, my answer was: “Friends!” It struck both of us with my answer, leading to a flow of thinking afterwards.
When I was young, from 10 to 14 years old, I used to come back to my hometown and stay there for nearly a month during summer. My uncle took me to the rubber forest for sightseeing, my cousins dragged me to the night market fair to play lô-tô, and my grandma bought me bún-chả-cá for breakfast. All those beautiful memories were just part of my childhood. But as I grew up, I stopped returning to my hometown when I started to focus more intensively on my studying. The habits of the good old summers faded day by day. Since then, I must admit that I spend a lot of my time in a day with my friends (apart from going to work). Whether it’s going to school, having a coffee chat or joining a road trip, friends become a vital part in my life. Until now, they still are.
So, the concern is here: A blood-related cousin or a life-connected friend?
I had been quite confused until my colleague shared her opinion:
“It is all about time and distance. In Vietnam, when we were young, like dating back to 10 years ago, we used to live in a group of different families in the genealogies. Therefore, we ate, played, and slept with each other from dawn till dusk. As the society changed together with the economy development, we started to separate from each other and build our own life. Some live near, others dwell far. We begin to grow apart and socialize more with those, friends in this case, who stand by each other within the geological as well as heart distance. Friends then replace the positions of relative in being the contributors to our growing up.”
Well, at first, you might think I am a rebellious kid who treasures the non-blood related over the related ones. But think again, especially to those who are in the same shoe with me when living and sharing your life with friends more frequently than with your relatives.
Frankly, it’s not about blood that defines our priority. It’s about how important they are in our life and how far they have gone in our heart.
In the end, we are the ones who live our life.
So live with our priorities that are defined by ourselves, not by the society.