Cambrian: Opinion

Rituals and traditions make life worthwhile

Dianne Brooke
Dianne Brooke

I had a conversation with a young friend who has two children, about taking in the “Cambria Holiday Traditions” that have developed over the years. Traditions, Cambria, growing up … well, what one could cover in the span of five minutes. The look on her face as she drove off implied, “Yeah, whatever.” I know, none of my business.

I’ve lamented here, before, the loss of family traditions in my household because the boys have grown up and developed their own lives, relationships have changed and my perspective on life in general has changed. But I still believe it is important to have rituals in our lives. After all, what IS a tradition but a custom or belief?

Family dynamics may change, but we drink our morning tea, walk on the ranch, call your mother on Sunday, put up decorations, host a tamale party ... these are all events or activities — rituals — that we repeat. They are all traditions we create and can choose to continue, to re-create … or not.

Cambria has a multitude of year-round ideas for making your life special. I consider myself truly blessed to have experienced many of them. While I was too old by the time I moved here to ride the Pinedorado kiddie cars (at 22, I may have had a hard time getting that second thigh in), I wound up having children of my own who could enjoy them. I had my “single” life BC (before children) in which to be wild and crazy at the old Camozzi’s Saloon on Halloween, or to listen to Sheri Geiger Odenwald at the old lounge at the Lodge with new friends.

With children, I got to bake things, make costumes, sell things, supervise things — all traditions in this town in the realm of families and schools. We’ve enjoyed Fourth of July in the park, our Labor Day Parade, Santa at the Pinedorado Grounds, Hospitality Night, ad infinitum. With kids, without kids, single, partnered — these opportunities become part of our memories, the fabric of who we are.

That, I believe, is why rituals and traditions are important. It gives us ground from which to build. If it makes us feel special, feel important, makes us feel good or connected, we feel more complete. I so look forward to our regular ladies’ gatherings because I am soothed by the comfort of that familiarity. That’s what I’m talking about.

As I mentioned, I am lucky to have “grown up” in this town because there is so, so very much to be a part of — if we choose. I’m also incredibly lucky to have found myself in an extremely diverse number of circles, all ages, all demographics. It’s a matter of putting oneself “out there,” I believe. It may be uncomfortable at first, but eventually, it may become that “familiarity” most of us strive for and need.

Try this: In a quiet moment, consider the most obvious traditions in your life growing up and now. How do they make you feel? Where in your body do you feel that? Then, think about all the other rituals/traditions you may have — be generous and creative in your identifying them! Now, what tradition would you like to start? Then do it!

Thank you all for this ritual of writing my column every week — that is what it is: a pleasurable habit I am fortunate enough to be able to share!