A Stream of Conscious Look At Traditions

 By Charlotte R.

Picture by Phoebe

Change is weird. Most people probably find some form of change jaw clenching, toe curling, when you yawn in class and your voice cracks and it sounds like a burp type of uncomfortable. So when a bunch of old people wanted to fight change, they started doing certain things the same way, everyday, forever. And their children got used to this routine and then they started doing those same things the same way, everyday, forever. And then their children’s children started doing those same things the same way, everyday, forever and then BOOM you have a tradition.

But traditions aren’t alien actions, they’re just customs. Customs are usually followed by people, and people, let’s be real, break things. This is kind of freaky because traditions should be forever. As an anxious existentialist, concepts such a lapse of time and age, so essentially change, make me a little paranoid. I want to keep every tradition exactly the way it is. I want to keep it perfect. But my Chanukah candles aren’t going to melt the same way each night and as I get older, my own personal traditions will change.

What? Personal traditions? Didn’t I say traditions are things old people started? Aren’t old people adorable? Hold the phone, yes, old people are quite cute and yes, young people start traditions too. I have things that I do everyday and they’re my own little traditions because, hey, I want to brush my teeth before I wash my face and no one’s going to change that. (And I want to wash my face, I mean scrub my face, not like those girls in those commercials who throw water on their faces while smiling to annoyingly happy music.) But as much as I want my traditions to stay the same, people will influence my traditions, and my development will cause me to outgrow traditions.

The people who run the beloved television channel, ABC family, used to play Gilmore Girls every evening at 5 o’clock on the dot. In late elementary school and early middle school 5 o’clock was a great time. My mom, my sister and I would all watch Gilmore Girls together eating our pre-dinner plate of peppers, carrots, cucumbers and maybe some tomatoes. We still have our plate of vegetables but Gilmore Girls no longer plays at 5. It’s sad because that was something I wanted to do forever. And now I’m older and not even home from school at 5 o’clock and my sister has moved out and Gilmore Girls is gone. But is it really? Are the actions of traditions what we want to hold onto, or is it the memory of doing something special what you want to keep forever?

I don’t what I’m going to do at 5 o’clock with my daughters, and even if it’s different than what my mom does with me and my sister – is it still keeping a tradition? I asked my friend what she thought of the word “tradition,” she answered, “what do you mean, like religion?” But no, I don’t mean religion because I don’t think it’s that easy. I don’t think we’re born with a heritage and that heritage tells us to do things

and those are the only things we do and we keep, regardless of society and regardless of change. I don’t think religion is a simple translation for tradition because then traditions could never be invented, then traditions could never really be lost. I don’t know what tradition means, but is it tradition for Demi Lovato to change her hair color and is it tradition to have a crush on a boy that you secretly want to hate and is it tradition to sit here and write my thoughts, just like my sister writes her thoughts in a in diary, and like mom did and my grandma and the dude who wrote the bible, which is essentially the basis for all religion, so the basis for tradition?

Why do traditions have to stay the same? Stories and history could be passed down from generation to generation, and they can change, but if they’re still alive then isn’t in theory the tradition alive? Could life be a tradition? My mom passed it down to me, and my grandma to my mom and my great grandma to my grandma etc. We’re all traditions then, and if we’re all traditions, we don’t have be what some old people told us to be, we need to be ourselves because we are the inventors of the us that is tradition.

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