Holidays aside, now that I am of the age when couples all around me are getting pregnant and growing their families, I hear how excited the new parents are to create new traditions with their children. Getting their child's face painted at a festival will turn into an annual event from now on. Traveling to the same city year after year because of how much fun the first time was becomes the "family vacation." Anything that is fun for the child and parents then becomes The Tradition.
While there is certainly nothing wrong in creating traditions and looking forward to replaying the same activity year after year, what I have noticed is that people are losing what it feels like to just enjoy the day for what it is: a fantastic day. Traditions can sometimes result in perpetual disappointments. I experienced this recently when my friends and I participated in our annual tradition of going apple picking. We selected a new orchard this year –– one closer to Chicago –– and it fell short from the traditional Edwards Orchards we typically visit. The entire day was a let down. The apple cider donuts did not come fresh out of the fryers into our hands, we didn't get a barrel for the apples we picked, there weren't enough activities, the place didn't "feel" like autumn. Basically, we spent the whole day comparing our day to the previous ones at the better orchard, and this poor new orchard did not have a chance of winning the competition.
It did not matter how blue the sky was, how delicious the apples tasted, how yummy the donuts were. It was not as good, and therefore, a complete bust. Someone observing us might have assumed that we were being dragged through the mud with how many complaints we had.
The more caught-up we were in recreating the magic that was felt the first time at the superior orchard, the more we lost out on the new memories that slipped through our fingers while we were busy picking apart the day. Traditions can be wonderful, but when we hold on to the past, unable to open our eyes to the potentiality of something new, we just make ourselves cheerless in the process. That is one tradition I would like to break.