Traditional Traditions

When holiday season rears its head, it feels like an annoying splinter I can’t seem to wriggle free.  The actual holiday itself isn’t the issue, but rather my expectations or perception of how the time should be spent.

Since I am an only child, don’t have children, and come from a small family, the stressful cooking and shopping serpent doesn’t loom overhead.  I feel like I’m dust slowly gathering on the outside of a fishbowl—everyone else is frantically swimming around gift buying, dessert baking, and holiday decorating, but I’m stationary—on the outside, hoping to be wiped free.

All of those actions haven’t made it to my to-do list or calendar and I don’t foresee it happening in the near future.  Does that mean I somehow feel left out?  Yes and no.  In some respect, I’m relieved I don’t have the same stress or anxiety as others.  However, there’s a part of me that wants the traditional traditions—baking, presents, tree, and family; real family.  Maybe a smidgen of Martha Stewartism could sprinkle my way and magically put me back in sync with everyone else.

As an adult who has moved away from my hometown and state, an unconscious question reveals itself, “What are you running from or running to?”  Due to circumstances, I haven’t had the chance to establish my own traditions, so there is a feeling of longing and insecurity.  For example, saying I was in Las Vegas for a Thanksgiving a few years back makes me feel slightly abnormal, as if announcing that I’m so thankful, I spent my time in Sin City!

Being packed in like sardines at a stretched piecemeal table, bumping elbows, and frantically passing food about while trying to partake in simultaneous conversations isn’t my idea of an ideal holiday.  Instead, going to a restaurant for a juicy steak rather than a dried out turkey and intimate conversation, seems more like my speed.  Or is it?  That Thanksgiving in Vegas, I was comforted to see there wasn’t an empty table in sight at the steak house and families were congregating at the door to be seated.  Apparently, the practice of eating out for a holiday is actually a tradition in itself, but I wasn’t aware, since I’d never done it before.  

Last year was the holiday season from hell.  Just a couple weeks before Thanksgiving my heart and life as I knew it was gutted.  I was in a massive state of shock, depression, and despair.  I was a walking empty shell of exhausted numbness.  At the last minute, I flew home to my parent’s house in Washington for Thanksgiving.  I cried on the flight there, cried the bulk of Thanksgiving Day, and cried on the flight home.  My family hasn’t experienced much turbulence, so the silence and sideways glances just punctuated, rather than comforted the pain.  Although they meant well and I was “back home,” I felt like I was wearing a massive Scarlet Letter with a capital “L” stamped across my forehead.  Loser.  

I’m relieved and proud to say what a difference a year makes!  My mental and emotional state has improved leaps and bounds.  I’ve never worked so hard on my own well being as I have in the last year.  At times it has been absolutely exhausting.  There are still rough days, sleepless nights, and tears, but it’s short lived.  The positives are prominent, my smile genuine, and my eyes bright for my future.  

This Saturday I fly south to Indio to spend Thanksgiving week with my parents.  We’re going golfing, wine tasting, out to a nice dinner Thanksgiving Day, and since I’ve never been there, I plan to do some exploring on my own.  BUT, there’s still a piece of me that has a longing for traditional traditions.  A yearning for my own family unit; to feel like I am not just the “plus one” at the table.   

Perhaps that’s my problem.  I’d like a reliable source to tell me that I’m okay; there’s nothing wrong with me.  Or, show me there is a way; a way that is purposeful, clear, and balanced.  

James Agee once said, “You must be in tune with the times and prepared to break with tradition.”  In some instances, this may be true.  However, I think tradition is repetition binding everything together; the backbone of family.  We’ve become so in tune with the times, we’ve lost sight of the past due to constantly looking ahead.  Thus, traditions have fallen to the wayside, unable to withstand the continuous onslaught of change.  

To me, life has become diluted over time and it is difficult to pinpoint exactly one’s original tradition.  We pride ourselves as a country of freedom, choices, and diversity.  However, what is our true identity as individuals and as a country?  

While trying to promote independence and respect for differences, there has been a silent trigger, which I believe has caused loss of culture in itself.  It is the repetition of actions accumulated over time that creates traditions within a culture.  Variation can lead to doubt or instability, which alters one’s identity as an individual.  “In America nothing dies easier than tradition,” wrote Russell Baker.  How sad.  

My heart is hopeful someday I will have traditional traditions.  Until then, I will give myself permission to accept what is as it is.  And dammit, I will continue to persevere.  I will continue to get out of bed each day, smile, and hold my head high.  The letter I now wear is “S” for Strength.

~D. Thompson, 11/16/15

Sunday Quote, 08/14/16

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Sunday Reflection Quote…Memories old and new, thought provoking conversations, stretch experiences, and personal challenges have rounded out the last two weeks of summer break. As I’ve listened and observed, the beauty in others has been revealed. Thus, a realization has been confirmed…Rather than seeking acceptance and approval, I just need to be me, as I am and wish to seem. We all have our nuances and idiosyncrasies. For that, I am thankful.

#Sunday #reflection #quote #socrates #mindset #growth #goals #acceptance#patience #reset #keeponkeepingon #myownstory

Sunday Quote, 7/31/16


Sunday Reflection Quote…”Good” lives on a continuum and slides to the preference of the beholder. For me, I’ve been intentional about my “practice” related to many areas…golf, poker, communication, patience, gratitude, acceptance, and forgiveness. Whether physical, mental, or emotional I can see the “good” i.e. improvement in my progress. The act of choosing to “practice” certainly propels along the continuum of “good.” Not there yet, but a hell of a lot closer!

#Sunday #reflection #quote #malcolmgladwell #practice #good #mindfulness #perspective #intentional #goals #myownstory #keepinkeepingon #thankful

Sunday Quote, 7/24/16

Sunday Reflection Quote (yes on Monday)…I went back “home” last week to visit my parents. The thread revealed across the week was nostalgia. I’m incredibly grateful for my “start” in Olympia…my parents, family, education, golf, and experiences. The foundation for who I am today.  At the same time and honestly for the first time in 13yrs, flying back to CA I truly felt like I was going home. On a variety of levels, it’s been a different type of start here and as of late a huge restart. For once I know right here right now, I am home.

‪#‎Sunday‬ ‪#‎reflection‬ ‪#‎quote‬ ‪#‎tseliot‬ ‪#‎home‬ ‪#‎start‬ ‪#‎restart‬ ‪#‎nostalgia‬‪#‎foundation‬ ‪#‎perspective‬ ‪#‎mindset‬ ‪#‎keeponkeepingon‬ ‪#‎myownstory‬

Sunday Quote, 07/10/16

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Sunday Reflection Quote…This week has been very rich with connections, thought provoking conversations, and reflective insights. I continue to learn self perspective can either be weakening or empowering. Thus, I’m aware I need to continue to rewrite the tape playing in my head. Don’t like the track? Change it!

‪#‎Sunday‬ ‪#‎reflection‬ ‪#‎quote‬ ‪#‎anaisnin‬ ‪#‎perspective‬ ‪#‎confidence‬ ‪#‎connection‬‪#‎synchronicity‬ ‪#‎shift‬ ‪#‎mindset‬ ‪#‎myownstory‬ ‪#‎keeponkeepingon‬

Sunday Quote, 06/19/16

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Sunday Reflection Quote…Old habits sure die hard. For me I tend to fall into the paralysis by analysis trap. I’m on the precipice, teetering and ready to step; then freeze. That inner critic creeps in…conditions aren’t right, you don’t have what it takes, what if…etc. Such a bunch of mental bullshit!! Even if I’m not prepared, even if I think I’ll fall flat on my face, the result is often waaaay more positive than assumed. Notice, assumed. Why? The wings are already there, even if I don’t see them. Even if I have a bazillion nuggets of doubt, I simply must jump. Jump anyway, dammit!

#Sunday #reflection #quote#raybradbury #jump #wings#confidence #initiate #whynot#myownstory #keeponkeepingon

Sunday Quote, 04/17/16

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Sunday Reflection Quote…Life is sweetened by risk and paralyzed by fear. There are a few stretch experiences and goals around the corner, which has placed me in an anxious spot. Although part of me is second guessing, I’m choosing to get out of my own way, power through, and just do. It’s the doing that yields value; not is just that, nothing.

‪#‎Sunday‬ ‪#‎reflection‬ ‪#‎quote‬ ‪#‎deniswaitley‬ ‪#‎risk‬ ‪#‎fear‬‪#‎getoutofyourcomfortzone‬ ‪#‎justdo‬ ‪#‎whynot‬ ‪#‎stretch‬ ‪#‎goals‬ ‪#‎myownstory‬‪ #‎keeponkeepingon‬

Sunday Quote, 04/10/16

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  • Sunday Reflection Quote…Thankfully “being at peace” continues. I’m realizing getting out of my own way has set me free. Conquering my fears, taking reasonable chances (golf/poker/teaching/social endeavors), communicating clearly, setting boundaries, and choosing how I spend my time has been a quiet victory.

    I do the best I can with the time I have, give myself permission to just be/not always needing to be productive, forgive myself and reset when I fall short, and continue to work towards personal goals. I am good enough as I am, how I am; life is good; I am grateful.
    #Sunday #reflection #quote #plato#peace #conquer #acceptwhatisasitis#keeponkeepingon #proud #thankful#mindfulness #myownstory

Sunday Quote, 04/03/16

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  • Sunday Reflection Quote (yes, on a Monday)…I sense I’ve turned a big corner the last couple weeks where I’m at sincere peace–within myself.
    I’m FINALLY feeling more comfortable being alone, especially at home. It’s been a super long stretch of avoiding by filling days with this and that and then some.
    Although I’ve dabbled, I haven’t had the sustained courage to just “sit with it.” Sit with anxiety, hurt, loneliness, fear, and grief. Sit with accepting what is as it is. Sit with giving myself permission to take the time, no matter how long it may be. Sit with knowing this is my story and ultimately it is up to me to create my own peace.
    #Sunday #reflection #quote#ralphwaldoemerson #peace #breathe#mindfulness #acceptwhatisasitis#avoidavoiding #myownstory#keeponkeepingon #thankful #hopeful

Sunday Quote 3/27/16

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Sunday Reflection Quote…Lately I’ve heard myself say “time is my most important commodity.” I’m learning to make choices regarding how I spend my time…for what purpose, whom with, and to what end. It’s a different mindset knowing I’m the one intentionally making choices, rather than just being a passive passenger. This shift is challenging and sometimes uncomfortable, but I know in the long run shaping my days and time will yield a positive path.
#Sunday #reflection #quote #jimrohn #time#choices #mindset #keeponkeepingon#myownstory #grateful