Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chang & Tradition (Written July 2011)

     If I've learned one thing in my life is that change happens whether we like it or not. People change, seasons change, places change, laws change, every thing changes. Even mountains and oceans change, everything that exits changes. Another thing I've learned is that most people don't like change and the older they get they dislike change even more. I don't know why this is but the simple explanation would be that people are creatures of habit. Consistency is easy, comfortable and un-complicated. That's the reason we don't change our car insurance even if we know it's expensive, that's why people don't refinance their high interest rate mortgage loans, it's the reason people use the same incompetent accountant, lawyer or mechanic year after year. 

     In my place of work I hear this question almost every day. Customers ask "why do people change here so much?" I have worked in the same place for more than a year and so have a lot of other co-workers. But as soon as we get one new person we are asked that question. I don't know why it's so hard to understand that people change jobs. Some get fired, some get promoted, some quit and others retire. What is so complicated or unusual about this that perplexes people? It's because they don't like change. They want to see the same people every time they come in, doing the same job, standing in the same spot. 

     Who would still want cars with maximum speed of 45 miles per hour? Who doesn't like the convenience of cell phones, or the miracle of the Internet? Who hasn't benefited from all the great changes in the medical field and the amazing verity of life saving procedures? Just imagine if we didn't have all the modern technological discoveries that happened in the last 50 years that have greatly improved our quality of life. My mom used to comment all the time that our life was so much easier compared to hers in respect to the conveniences of domestic life, from shopping to cooking and cleaning to child rearing.  

     With all this said there is still a place for traditions and why we cherish them. In my opinion family traditions are created when we do something together as a family that is fun and enjoyable and it creates found memories. There is this family tradition that every summer when some of us go, or have gone to Armenian, we go to my sister's "dacha", Russian word for villa or summer house in English, and when it's time to go back to the city, we take a group picture sitting on the same sofa. Every year some of the people in the picture change depending on whoever happens to be visiting Armenia that year. There is always the home owners and maybe an odd person, a guest or a friend but the picture is always taken from the same angle on the same sofa. One year the sofa broke, I guess because we all had gained a few pounds from eating too much kabob. We laughed so much that some of us peed in our pants and that made us laugh even more.                        Those are precious memories and they are unforgettable and priceless.

     I like the tradition of having Thanksgiving dinner in my house every year. I think I will continue this tradition for as long as I can cook, maybe until I'm eighty. 
    We have Armenian Christmas at another one of my sisters house and we haven't missed it for 34 years. Her youngest son was born that night 34 years ago and that makes this tradition doubly fun. No matter where we are we always end up in her house on that night. 
     Another of my my sisters (I have seven of them lucky me) lives by a high school and every 4th of July they have fire works at nine o'clock. She cooks hamburgers, hot dogs and barbecue chicken and we always have plenty of beer. Each year the family grows bigger thanks to my nieces and nephews and now my son who has a little girl. The kids run around in the backyard, climb trees and walls, and eat lots of food. The grownups talk about life, work, blood pressure and our weight problems and everything else in between. We all have a wonderful time and go home tired and happy.  
I juts want our kids to continue our family traditions because that is the one thing that will bind us to each other. In this cold and ever changing world all we have that is genuine is family love. You can't buy it, rent it or borrow it. Let's leave something behind for our kids besides our national debt. Let's leave them our legacy of good old fashioned family traditions. After all blood is thicker than water.