Whenever I think of the word “value”, I think of my freshman year math teacher who most definitely talked like he had just smoked a joint out back.

Laid back and chilling, I always hear value with a Southern California surfer drawl: valyouu.

Anyhow, it was the other day that I came across a chapter in my book that talked a bit about values. Not just any old values, but our personal, unique, core values.

Values are essentially these guiding principles, these beliefs that dictate our behavior. These beliefs help us stay on the right path, our individual path, and keeps us going in the right direction.

The book then listed several, such as acceptance, creativity, self-expression, romance, humor, authenticity, beauty, etc. etc.

Whilst the ones listed above are examples of some of the core values that I picked out of the mix, the one value that stands out and is helping guide me in my right direction is family.

Family that I just spent the last ten days with (and is the reason I took a little vacation from the blogosphere).

Brother, sister, mom, dad, and not one, but both my grandmas and my grandpa! Heck, there was even my grandparent’s cat thrown in there for kicks and giggles.

Having just returned from a road trip that went from Walnut Creek, California to Vermilion, South Dakota with stops everywhere in between, I was once again in the presence of some of the most important people in my life.

My number one biggest fans, my shopping partners, my emotional support, my practical support, my wise and encouraging voices, and the ones that inspire me to follow my dreams (as long as I have a plan, as my dad likes to point out).

Whilst a lot of my core values center around my person, the value of family is not something to be swept aside in second place.

See, knowing my values and incorporating them into my life grows my self-confidence because I’m actually living, practicing, and reinforcing who I am at my core.

If one of my values is family, why shouldn’t I take the opportunity to include them as part of my life, and be a part of theirs as closely as I can?

During this recent trip, my sister brought proud tears to my eyes, my dad made me laugh, my brother engaged me in intelligent conversation, my mom encouraged me, my grandmas generously hosted us and spoiled us right, and it made me come to the conclusion that I want them to be a part of my life, and not from a distance.

I have a big change coming up in my life, but I’m excited because it’s a change that will not only bring me joy, but to them as well.

It’s an integral part of growing to know and practice your many valyouus.

In this chapter, I’m finding that I long for home and for the company of the people who bring out the best in me and if I have the power to change my current circumstances and be surrounded by one of my most important values, family, why would I wait?