“Quotes in Action” – Day 30

"Tradition is a guide and not a jailor." ~ W. Somerset Maugham

We are drawing to the end of “Quotes in Action.” I’m hoping that a couple of quotes have resonated with you and perhaps impacted your life in a positive way. Today’s quote is not about adding something but rather about giving yourself permission to do a little less. It comes from author W. Somerset Maugham who said, “Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.”

We are creatures of habit. Some habits we establish to help us be productive or take care of tasks. Others are patterns of behavior that we put in place around holidays, celebrations, milestones, and other special times. These we call “traditions.” I love traditions, and my family has a ton of them. We look forward to the familiarity of eating, drinking, and doing certain things at certain times. Traditions can have many positive benefits, including providing comfort, stability, and joy.

However, in any given season, we may find it difficult to carry through with a tradition in the same manner we have done in the past. Many factors can make it hard to execute a tradition, including:

  • Illness
  • New baby
  • Relocation
  • Infirm family members
  • Finances
  • Limited time and/or space
  • Conflicting traditions with friends or family
  • Work schedules

I love today’s quote because it reminds us that the value of a tradition is that it makes us feel good. Traditions should never be held in such high esteem that we feel pressured to fulfill them. Furthermore, sustaining a tradition might be unwise if doing so will have negative consequences, such as damaging relationships, adding burdensome debt, inducing exhaustion, or creating resentment.

As you go through this upcoming year, I encourage you to be mindful about the traditions you perpetuate. Are there any that you honestly no longer enjoy? Today offers a chance to think ahead and identify any tradition you may wish to let go, whether temporarily or permanently. Often it is easier to obtain buy-in from others if conversations can be had at a time separate from when a tradition would typically be celebrated. Think now about how to get the ball moving.

Can you think of any tradition that you’ve “outgrown?”

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2 thoughts on ““Quotes in Action” – Day 30”

  1. This one speaks to me! Christmas 2021 was the first one where I used an artificial tree instead of a real one. Gasp! It had actually been the tree my mother had been using and given that it was the first Christmas without her, I felt like it was okay to break my live tree tradition. And to be honest, I may not go back! I truly did not enjoy having to remember to water a live tree and keep on top of vacuuming the needles so more faux trees may be in my future!
    Sarah Soboleski recently posted…A Complete Guide to Mental Decluttering from A to ZMy Profile

    1. I totally connect to this one. We traveled for Christmas this year, so we didn’t buy a live tree. We normally have two trees, one live and one fake, but because we were going away, we just used the fake one. It was SO MUCH EASIER (not to mention cheaper)! We too are pondering just sticking with this plan going forward.

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