When someone mentions an individual, an image of a solitary male elephant props up in my head. Yet, even in a trail of ants moving, each ant is an individual. In a group of friends, each person is an individual. In a marriage, each party is an individual.
There is something fundamentally limiting in any form of classification. By classifying entities into groups, it becomes easier to ignore the differences and focus on the similarities. Perhaps, it is the differences which provides the instinctive understanding of the world which we all share. The differences stare you in your face, because you can only control your own body and mind.
Becoming an individual for me, is the realization that there exists these fundamental differences which are so apparent, that they stare at you all along. Yet, there are similarities, some which we rationalize, and others which we construct, which makes for a complex network of interactions. We are all a part of a myriad of such interactions, and we become an individual, when we define ourselves by the sum of all these interactions, rather than any subset of them.