My mom says I am the least sentimental person ever. It may be true, and it may not.
For the most part, I’ve never been one that has attached myself to physical objects. I have one or two boxes of things that I have kept from childhood that I feel guilty getting rid of. I have a photo of my grandpa that I miss dearly on display as well as a streetcar he made me, but other than than family photos hung on the wall, there’s not much more.
While I have become much more sentimental with the birth of my children, I still would admit I don’t attach feelings and memories to physical objects as much as others do. With the gift-giving, family gatherings, and holiday traditions now behind us though, I have been reflecting on what drives me towards these feelings.
I find traditions are hard to compare to … you work so hard to recreate this moment, this memory, this perfect little spark, all to realize sometimes you can’t.
I remember that moment of goofing off in line, waiting for our turn on Splash Mountain. I can envision that night of watching fireworks, side by side with my siblings and parents. I remember a perfect trip stripped of all negativity and challenges.
So, I go to recreate that “perfect” memory 20 years later. But my kids scream and cry, and don’t want to ride any rides including Splash Mountain. And everyone is too tired to leave the hotel for the fireworks I planned to see, shoulder to shoulder. There’s fighting, yelling, and hiccup after hiccup.
While some people get sad when things aren’t the same as they used to be, I see it as an opportunity to make a new memory or tradition and to live in the moment.
It’s not the trip I planned or remember, and that’s ok. This is a different trip; a new memory with ties to the future, not ties to the past.
I’m all for traditions, recreating our pasts, and reliving memories, but let’s make sure we don’t mark something so quickly as a failure when you can’t recreate that perfect vacation 20 years ago.