The Pronouns Change: Maintaining the Family Unit in an Individualistic Society

Before I moved to Canada permanently to be with my fiancé, I had an Italian professor who was a mentor of mine.  He gave me parting advice over tortellini and bruschetta, “Remember, right now it is you, you, you— When you get married it will change to us, us, us—  And then you will have children, and it will become them, them, them.  This reminder could not have been closer to the truth.  In a society all about self-help, self-care, whole social media shrines dedicated to the display of the self, the family unit has become less of a unit and more of a group of selves trying to cohabit.  We find others toxic if they are interfering with our “self.”  But throughout life’s changes, the pronouns change, evolve, and life becomes less about me, me, me. 

There comes a time in life where we become obligated to think as a unit.  But society tells us differently.  We must follow our dreams and do what is best for ourselves,  but is this true within the family unit?  What happens when what is best for you (or what you think to be true) is not best for the family?  Which comes first, the family unit or the self?  Can the family unit survive in such an individualistic society where the questions are always in contrast?  Can we make small compromises and keep each other in check with the family as the priority? These are questions we have to address in order to keep the family unit alive in today’s culture, to learn to work as a team, encourage each other, and most importantly, stick together.