When I was in my early twenties, I went through my mom’s record collection and discovered the album “Hey” by Julio Iglesias. It was the soundtrack of a time in my life when I was considering whether or not I wanted to stay in a relationship or not. I would listen to it on my runs (strange, I know) and it would make me feel less alone in my fears and doubts. Julio really got me.
One of my favorite songs on the album was called viejas tradiciones (old traditions). He sings:
Por esas viejas tradiciones
(Because of the old traditions)
Hemos estado tanto tiemp juntos,
(We’ve been together for so long)
Y por guarder las apariencias
(And in keeping up appearances)
Hemos vivido sin amor alguno
(We have lived without any love)
The album made its way back into my heavy rotation recently and I was transported to yesteryear. I could almost feel all of the pressure to stick with something that no longer served me for the sake of keeping up appearances. Those days were heavy. I trudged through them with shackles on my ankles and now that I’m free, I’ve been wondering what other old traditions have latched themselves on to my human experience unbeknownst to me.
Sometimes I feel guilty when I don’t conform to gender norms. Even though I’m pretty darn progressive and a feminist – I’m always considering whether I’m successfully upholding traditions and making the people who set the examples proud. It sounds silly, but the whole “they’re watching over us” phenomenon feels very real to me.
I put off doing things that I want to do because I feel like I need to do other things. Example: I can’t sit down and write because the house is a mess. Sometimes I don’t care that it’s a mess, but I worry that someone will come over and they will care that it’s a mess. I find myself caring a lot about what other people think. But why? Will their house being cleaner than my house make them better people than me? Does my tidy house increase my value as a human being? The answer to these questions is no. The worst part is that my writing gets put off. I pass up a moment of inspiration for vacuuming!
So I’m setting some new intentions. And I welcome you to do the same. If there’s something in your life that isn’t serving you – chuck it. If you were taught not to be vulnerable, be vulnerable anyway. If you feel like basking in the sunlight for an hour instead of mopping the floor – let me pour you a glass of digital lemonade.
I feel my grandparents’ presence sometimes when I’m doing something they would have never done. I cringe for a moment and then I remember that they didn’t know they could. I wouldn’t want my kids to be just like me. I’d want them to be better, smarter, bolder, and more fearless. I’d want them to challenge me and expand my way of thinking. So here I go, creating nuevas tradiciones.