Thursday, December 31, 2015

Writing Lab: Exploring the Concept of Tradition

When I first decided to participate in regards to this month's Writing Lab theme, there was a part of me that thought it would be pointless for me to even bother. As I've touched on in previous posts, I've always felt kind of left out for one reason or another when other people are talking about their traditions, especially around the holidays, so I was worried that I'd have nothing of interest to say.

I don't feel like my family situation was like other people's, not when I was growing up and not as an adult. I'm not really even in touch with most of my family members at this point in time. Don't get me wrong. It's definitely for the better because some of the people in question are incredibly toxic, but the holidays always have a way of making you aware of what's missing in your life. Both things you used to have, but no longer do, and things that you've frankly never had in any form even if you thought differently at some point in the past.

I've since been working on making the holidays my own. Being with someone that I feel truly enjoys my company and accepts me for who I am has helped a lot. I don't know that I would have felt comfortable using the word "tradition" to describe any of what we do though. Or at least I wouldn't have before I was challenged to take a closer look at what it really means to have traditions in the first place. Even on the days when I elected not to write a response to the day's prompt for whatever reason, I still read it and considered it. That turned out to be a really positive thing for me.

So I suppose that's what I've learned about myself by spending this past month examining my traditions -- that I actually do have them in the first place. Some of them extend all the way back to my childhood in one way or another because of a memory or something that was first introduced to me by my mother or my friends when I was still young. Most are either completely unique to the past decade of my life or else are reboots of traditions from the past. A small handful are based on historical or cultural traditions I read about once and decided I'd like to try for myself.

I've discovered that there really aren't any rules as far as what a tradition can be or where it has to start in order to be worthy of the title. I've also learned that I'm not alone in that understanding. I struggle with feeling like my life must look insufferably boring to those on the outside looking in. That said, I was certain that no one else would be interested in reading about any of the things I had to say about tradition.

I decided to share anyway and I'm really glad I did. So many of the other bloggers participating in this wrote to me to tell me they liked my posts and found the things I had to say really interesting. I think that was just what I needed in order to rekindle some of my interest in blogging. I do fine on my own and I don't need other people's approval or encouragement just to continue living my life the way I want to... but I do kind of need it when it comes to actually sharing what I write about the experience.