25 Years, A Big Blue Whale and A Golden Goose - Why Tradition Matters
When life gets so busy that you can't see your way through your next step, traditions ground and center us, bringing us back to what really matters.
I remember it like it was just yesterday … a convoy of neighborhood cars heading up to the beach early most Sunday mornings of the summer. Traditional home-made Italian lunches including breaded veal cutlets, an assortment of lunch meats like salami and mortadella, mouth-watering Italian bread, garden fresh salad, and lots of juicy watermelon were always on the menu. We didn’t even mind being forced to bed early on a Saturday night because we knew that meant we got to splash and play all day in the sun the next day.
One of my favorite memories is of the Big Blue Whale, a large blue air mattress whose middle became completely unglued under the torture of all us neighborhood kids surfing and knocking each other off of it. The Big Blue Whale was even more fun than the plain old air mattress it started out as, and we passed many a summer Sunday rolling over it in the crashing waves at Sauble Beach. That air mattress may not have lasted forever, but the memory of that wonderful tradition of our Sunday neighborhood beach trips will always have a special place in my heart.
TRADITIONS come in many different forms, from Sunday dinners, movie nights and holidays to sports and game nights, fishing trips, and even the newer addition of Zoom calls among so many more.
Regardless of how big or small though, the one thing they all have in common is that feeling of connection to something bigger than ourselves. They are not so much about the action involved as the way they make us feel.
Family Dinner Celebration
Photo by Lee Hnetinka from Pexels
Here are just a few of the healing powers of traditions:
- Traditions ground us back into ourselves. When life gets too crazy and we've just about had enough, connecting with the people who love us most and know us best allows us to be ourselves, breathe and laugh.
- Traditions create a sense of comfort and belonging. They bring family and friends together in a special way that reminds us that we matter in this world, and that familiarity give us a sense of certainty that we will always have a soft place to land.
- They help reinforce important values like respect, friendship, happiness and connection to each other and to something bigger than ourselves. They affect how we experience family and friends and allow us to mindfully connect to our past, present and future. They give us memories to laugh at and recount over the years, and even to re-create and carry on in our own ways. In fact, this is what my husband and I have done with our kids.
- They affect how we experience family and friends and allow us to mindfully connect to our past, present and future. Life is simply better when we can experience those familiar feelings that special traditions bring up.They give us memories to laugh at and recount over the years, and even to re-create and carry on in our own ways.
- Traditions give us memories to laugh at and reminisce about over the years, and even to re-create and carry on in our own ways.
In fact, this is exactly what my husband and I have done with our kids.
This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of our own summer tradition, our annual cottage week with very dear family friends. Because of this, our kids have grown up like siblings, seamlessly merging into one big family for a week each summer. We've played everything from baseball, bocce and home base to Balderdash, Cornhole and many a karaoke dance party.
For years, the kids created photo opportunities for the Golden Goose that lived at one of the cottages. That Goose came to the beach with us, sunglasses and beach towel in tow, watched sunsets with us, and even watched a Summer Olympics with us.
The Goose may be long gone, but our kids, who now range in age from 18 to 27, STILL create space each summer to come with us and continue the fun. The beach is as beautiful as ever, but I truly believe they keep coming because of the gourmet food, great friendships, laughter and connection, for how great it makes us all feel.
Why not add a new tradition to your stress relief toolkit? Big or small, the payoff will no doubt be exponential!
Splashing at the Beach
Photo by Julia Kuzenkov from Pexels
If you could use some help taking those small steps that will help you connect with more ease, let’s talk!
Wishing you and your families much health, connection and laughter every day in every way!
Nancy Brooker, CPA CA
Certified Master Life Coach