I really enjoyed my sister’s visit. I hope she can come and visit again soon. I had forgotten how nice it was to be around real family. I say “real” family because one of my favorite techniques for coping with new situations and places is to create a surrogate family. I round up some close friends I have made and then assign certain roles. Undoubtedly the first to be picked are the younger brother and sister types. You see, I am the oldest of 4 kids; 2 sisters, 1 brother. I have become used to being the one looked up too, or the one that makes the bad mistakes to ensure everyone else can learn from it. In this role I am a psychologist, the listener, the one that gives superb advice. In this role I am almost without fault. It is good for my ego.
Next I choose someone like my father. I choose someone who reminds me of my dad, not someone to replace the father/son relationship; someone smart, wise, hard working, funny, conservative, someone who is able to push me outside my comfort limits. This is always the person I relate to the best. Someone I can talk to for hours and say some pretty absurd thing, and have them understand. These friends are the types of friends that stick around for a few years.
Next on the assignment list would be my mom. This person is also smart, like my dad, however is not quite as conservative. This person I can relate to for different reasons. I can commiserate with this person. I learn so much just from how this person’s life has turned out. This person can lift me up when I am down.
What is sad is that I admit to doing this. It makes sense to me though. I think anyone that goes to a new place should try to find parallels to their old life. It helps me understand the differences in us all.
The truth is, however, we don’t all fit in nice perfect packages. Sometimes the lines get blurred a bit. The trick is not looking too hard. Let people be who they are and not compare too closely to anyone else.
Easier said than done.