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Every week, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., it’s the same thing. Once in a while, there will be a day off for a holiday, sick day or other small reprieve, but largely, I work eight hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. When you look at it, it’s not really a very becoming lifestyle, but this is mine and many of our realities.
What gets me through the monotonous days of grinding away on a keyboard is the little things I can look forward to as you put on your dress pants every morning. It could be as simple as the weekly farmer’s market, Saint Patrick’s Day, or cheap wings and beer once a week (Yuengs and wings for me). What makes these good days become great is when they become ingrained so much into life that they become tradition. It could be as small as watching the cartoon version of the Grinch during Christmas Eve like myself and cousins did or as large as going on vacation with a group of people every summer.
Traditions are born out of having a good time with good people. The people are just as important as the event. For example, this weekend was Oktoberfest. Every year, we hit up the local bars for Oktoberfest. A little bit of Jaegerschnitzel, a few liters of Oktoberfest (the best seasonal in my opinion) and a solid group of friends marked the third year in a row we rolled deep into the bar at 4 p.m. ready for the long haul. Unfortunately for me, I pregamed all day, drank quite a bit of Oktoberfest and was in bed before 10 p.m., but damn was it a good time. It got me through me week last week, and the memories of it will get me through today, at least.
Many people have a “Friendsgiving” or whatever, but for our group of friends we have “Thanksoween.” As one can guess on context clues, it is a Halloween themed party with Thanksgiving food. Everyone makes their best dish and we pack 30 or so people clad in Halloween garb in with enough food and booze so that everyone leaves drunk and with a plate of coveted leftovers: turkey, mashed potatoes, mac n’ cheese with a Cheez-It crust, various casseroles, pies and ice cream cakes, just to name a few. This date is looked forward to and planned as soon as the day after the last one commenced. We all take the day off work to cook a ton of food, pregame and enjoy each other’s company before everyone gets too sloppy.
The best part is that no tradition is too big or too small. The point is to break up the monotony and to give you something to look forward to. Many of you play adult sports, and with the playing of adult sports SHOULD come the post (as well as pre) game drinking. Whether it’s the 19th hole after a round of golf, going to a nearby bar or drinking in the lot, part of what makes sports great is camaraderie. For me, 4th period in the lot after a men’s league game is half the reason I even go to the games. It could be 90 degrees or 9 degrees outside, but everyone knows, even opposing teams that we often invite for postgame beers, we’ll be there come rain or snow.
The best part about traditions are the longevity. Sure, they are about bringing good people together and everyone knows when they are, but growing and sustaining traditions is the most important part. As a kid, I went to the OBX with my family the last week of July and the first week of August. It was the perfect time, and we went roughly 15 straight years. Sadly, it has died but will hopefully be rekindled (although not nearly as long) for summer 2017 with new my family of friends. That’s another thing about traditions – they are made to be shared with others.
Traditions are great. It gives you something to look forward to, it brings people together and provides a much-needed break up in life. Whether your tradition is tailgating, a party or even a normal family event, enjoy it and enjoy the people. There’s nothing worse than a lost tradition, unless you’re Texas A&M which makes a tradition out of a door closing twice. Life is short and we’re all in this together..