Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
We just finished up the holiday season (thank goodness) in many countries. Holidays come jam-packed with activities, many of which have a basis in tradition, whether it is cultural, religious or family traditions.
Sometimes tradition can lend depth and meaning to a special time.
Other times it is just an unnecessary and unwelcome complication.
Sometimes I think “tradition” is just another way of saying “shared habit”.
And like habits, sometimes our traditions don’t serve us very well.
So how do you know? And what do you do about it?
The first sign that a tradition isn’t working is that you feel a reluctance about doing it. It seems like more of a burden than a benefit, and somewhere deep down you just know you don’t want to do it.
For several years, a tradition has been to visit a friend’s house on Christmas Eve. Honestly, I find it rather a drag these days. Don’t get me wrong – my friends and their guests are nice people. But on that particular evening, I would rather be curled up at home, watching “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
Here’s the thing you may not know: others may be feeling the same way about it. Or they may know that you don’t want to participate — no matter how well you think you are hiding it.
So I encourage you to talk about things you really don’t want to do. You may be surprised.
My husband didn’t really like the neighborhood gathering either. So we skipped it this year.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be traditionless.
Sometimes it is fun to build traditions of your own. Things that you do with other people.
We grill dinner on New Year’s day. Both of our families of origin live in the far North and opt for another big sit-down-oven-centered dinner. We go for steaks and shrimp on the barbecue. Because we can, and we enjoy it.
And it doesn’t mean you have to take the tradition as it comes.
We see the lights on the beach boardwalk every year. It is something special about our area. We bundle up, put the top down on the convertible, and drive next to the ocean, looking at the displays.
The sponsors give us a music CD each year to go with the lights – nothing timed or special, just random holiday music mixed with advertisements. This year I ripped the CD out halfway through the ride and put our own music on. Same event, just changed a bit.
So if you are just past the holidays, look back and see if there are traditions that are not serving you. Can you find any to eliminate? Change? Make simpler? Share below.
Photo by aaronjwebb