Tuesday, December 18, 2012

One week til... you know...

The first year I was married the holidays kind of freaked me out.  I felt weird, slightly off-balance, and a little misplaced running from my family to Joe's, with no real traditions to follow because we hadn't come up with any yet.  The ones from my family kind of got a bit f-ed up a while ago when my parents divorced and we all grew up and moved away and my mother remarried, so I was doubly tradition-less.

I realized the importance of tradition only when I didn't have any any more. 

So the next year, I decided to just do stuff, fun stuff, and say "Its a tradition!" And then if you do it again the next year, BAM!  you've got a tradition!  So now I have a few traditions-- second thanksgiving dinner (the one I make myself after I get back from my grandmother's because she won't make a turkey), a big party with carol singing, eating a big christmas breakfast just Joe and me (wafflesssss) on the china complete with mimosas, watching A Christmas Story on Christmas Eve while wrapping presents, and there's a couple others too that I can't remember right now.

The thing about traditions are that they give me a feeling of groundedness.  I have to say I've never had a lot of familial continuity, and it took me a long time to figure out that being happy in life does not depend on having a close-knit family that does everything together.  And what a revelation it was to realize that you can have traditions that include just you.  Like my tradition of getting a pedicure before vacation, or the Monday night sojourn to Trader Joe's, or the grilled cheese at the diner after a good voice lesson.  

I think one of the things that can make life super fun and meaningful is turning situations that could be stressful into something to look forward to with little events or rewards that make you happy.  Packing for a family vacation can be a pain in the a**, but looking forward to that pedicure the night before you leave sure does make it easier.  

So think of something you dread, and find a way to spin it in a not so bad way.  Teeth cleaning?  Take yourself out for lunch afterward, or have one of those ridiculous coffee drinks at Starbucks that you'd normally never indulge in.  It's a tradition! Bam!  And suddenly, it doesn't seem like the worst thing ever.  

Next tradition up:  The Rockettes at Radio City!!! I can't wait.


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