11 Reasons Why Family Is Everything

11 Reasons Why Family Is Everything

And why they need to know it.
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At the end of your life, you’ll be able to look back and remember all of the people who had a lasting impact on you. You’ll reminisce about good times with friends, colleagues, significant others, and even pets. Memories from years past will make you both laugh and cry. But there will be a group of people who are sure to stand out: your family. You may not have always realized it, but they never left your side. They saw you through the ups and downs of life and loved you in spite of your mistakes. It’s key for us to recognize how important they are to us -- and vice versa -- so we can make sure to give them the thanks they deserve. So, here are eleven reasons why family is everything (and why they should know it).

1. They have been there from the beginning. Who was there when you were born? They were! They are the only people in the world who can say they’ve known you from your first day in the world and loved you even then.

2. They’ve watched you grow up. They were there for your first steps and first words. They dressed you in embarrassing clothes and made sure to take hundreds of pictures. They cried when they sent you off to your first day of school. What weren’t they there for?

3. They know what makes you tick. If you don’t already know it, I’m here to tell you that your family can read you like an open book. It’s kind of creepy. They know everything about you -- your likes, dislikes, embarrassing secrets, hopes and dreams, you name it. And they can tell whether you’re happy or sad. It’s almost like they’re psychic.

4. They’ve seen you at your best... They were there for all your grade schools plays, dance recitals, sports games … everything. They saw you graduate from high school and celebrated with you when you got into college! Life is just one big party when they’re around.

5. …And your worst. But, when life doesn’t go our way, they're still there for us. They comforted us when we were sad and set us straight when we were out of line. They’ve seen it all and always know just what to say.

6. They even loved you through your awkward phase. Yep. Braces, clunky glasses, awkward haircuts … they didn’t care. (Make sure to say thanks for that.)

7. They’ve sacrificed so much for you. Just think about all of the money and time they spent/are still spending on you. Two words: college tuition.

8. But, you can still go to them for anything. They’re still there for you, and they’re more than willing to lend a helping hand. If you ever hit a wall, you can be sure they will be there to help you get back on your feet. There’s never a shortage of compassion or understanding when it comes to your family.

9. They’ve helped you along the way. Just look at how far you’ve come since you were a little kid. You couldn’t have done it if they hadn’t pushed you to be your best. Your mom nagging you to “do your homework” paid off after all, didn’t it?

10. They’ll always have your back (as well as great advice). No matter what, they’ll always be there for you. As you continue to go through life, you’ll always be able to turn to them and ask for guidance. They’ve gone through anything and everything that might be going on in your life, so who’s better to turn to?

11. They love you unconditionally. No matter what you do. That kind of love is hard to come by, so hold it close and never let it go! (It’s not like you’d have a choice anyway.)

No matter your age or where you are in life, one of the most important things in the world is family. So, never take them for granted, know that you can always turn to them … and tell them how much you love them today!

Cover Image Credit: Chloe Kisela

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I'm The College Girl Who Is Old Enough To Know She Doesn't Want Kids, Please Respect That

Yes, I am a real woman, and yes, I have a heart.

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"I don't think I'm going to have kids." This was the sentence that sent my family into a frenzy. But you love kids, your so good with them, don't you think that's a bit selfish? Was the first of the remarks, followed by: you don't know what your missing, is your boyfriend okay with it, you're robbing the world of great kids, you'll never be happy, you'll change your mind; each came hurtling at me, one after the next. But me not wanting kids is something that I've given a lot of thought to, for the past decade, so am I really just "saying it for a reaction"?

"But you love kids, your so good with them, don't you think that's a bit selfish?" Yes. I do love kids. I think children are amazing. But that is the thing. I'm not being selfish. While it may be a bit selfish of me to not want to have to sew my body back up while sitting in an ice bath for a month afterward. Is it really so selfish to not want to raise a child in this messed up world? There is a school shooting almost every week in this country. Also, there's this thing called "rape culture" and it permeates every aspect of our society. Many of the children of today will likely be its victims or perpetrators in the not-so-distant future.

"You don't know what you're missing." According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs $241,080 for a middle-income family to raise a kid to 18 years of age — and that's before you toss in college, grad school, helping them get on their feet after graduation, bailing them out of jail after a wild weekend in Cabo, and all the rest of the unexpected expenses that come along with being a parent. I know what I am missing out on: temper tantrums and more college loans.

"Is your boyfriend okay with it?" This one always puzzles me. I'm not saying that we haven't talked about it. Of course he knows. But I am confused by the idea that if he wanted kids, I would change my mind to appease him. I was always taught that I am the sovereign of my own body. But then my aunt tells me that I have to give the decision of whether or not pushing a melon out of my uterus is best for me to any person I plan on dating?

"You're robbing the world of great kids." I'm actually not robbing the world of anything. I'm thinking about how having kids would impact the environment, over-consumption, over-population, and whether it would be fair to bring a child into this world. By not having kids, I'm allowing for the world to have one less person slowly ripping it apart. Mother Jones stated that one American child produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as 106 kids in Haiti. So, if you're concerned about bringing your the world's carbon footprint down, you could just skip having a kid.

"You'll never be happy." I fervently disagree with that statement. An international 2014 Gallup study found that overall, people with children had a "lower life evaluation," meaning they feel less happy with their lives in general. I know so many older women who do not have children and are incredibly happy. They felt fulfilled by other things; careers, spouses, volunteering, hobbies, pets, literally anything else. I understand that many people feel that they need children in order to feel happy, but some of us are not in the majority. But more women are child-free in the U.S. now that at any other time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. Almost half, 47.6 percent, of women between the ages of 15 and 44 did not have children in 2014. So how small is the minority I'm in?

"You'll change your mind." And I know that. A lot of people do. My dad didn't want kids, and yet here I am. Some people change their minds, but some people don't. If my mind changes I'm okay with that, but don't TELL me that my mind will definitely change. It hasn't changed for the past 10 years and it doesn't look like it will anytime soon.

As a young woman in an age that tells me I can be anything, I can do anything, that I am in charge of my own destiny; I am often surprised by the number of people who tell me what to think and how I should be living my life. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I'm past the age of someone trying to shape mine. If you want a moldable mind, go have your own child Susan.

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