I love traditions! They are the touchstone of one’s life. While the surroundings, and sometimes the participants change, traditions link us to who we are, who we were, and give us something to plan for in the future.
A few years ago in July, having never participated in it, my son Brian, his fiancee Emily, Kathie and I drove over the hill to Santa Cruz for the Wharf to Wharf run. We had a great time along with 15,000 other runners of all shapes, ages, and levels of fitness. Slogging slowly up those “huge at the time” hills, we were entertained by local bands as we ran through the streets along the ocean towards Capitola. That first year we were excited and nervous as to whether we’d even finish! In following years of this road race (now an annual tradition for me), I’ve been blessed to run it with the same friends and family, and one year my sister, Rachelle, even flew out from Prescott to run it with us–a wonderful addition! This year, my son Derek joined us and Brian and Emily did not as they are now living on the East Coast. Oh, and now living in the Sierra foothills, Kathie drove much farther especially for this annual event.
Much more confident in “our tradition”, Kathie and I were ready for this 6 mile race. Our goal had moved from “just finish” to a “personal best time” which we both achieved for ourselves. I saw Kathie zoom ahead and she never slowed down! I enjoyed my run, solid in my fitness level and ran an excellent time for me.
Sharing time with friends and family doing something special year to year, arriving from various places near and far–these define my traditions! They are the touchstones of my life and the perfect points for reflection on what is, what was, and hopefully what might be. Not to be missed, they are definitely cherished by me. It takes some effort on everyone’s part, and we all leave a bit richer for the experience.