Core Decorum: Tradition

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Illustration courtesy of Cecilia Lang.

We only have one life to live, and each day seems shorter than the last. No matter how much one tries to fit into a month, a week or a decade there are physical limits. We can never do it all.

The shortness of our time can be a source of both comfort and anxiety. One rarely feels time go slowly when one is having a good time, nor does one feel the minutes pass quickly enough during an unpleasant time.

Sometimes, it is so tempting to bear grudges or hold on to our petty reasons for outrage or irritation, but one of the easiest ways to let these feelings go is to just remember that there is literally no time to care. I have yet to find a petty grievance that could not be solved this way.

Not only do we have limited time, but we don’t know how much time we have. I would be shocked if I died tomorrow, and I had spent so much time relaxing, chatting and procrastinating, and not ever doing all those things that I was so certain I would do eventually.

There is truly no time like the present, because the present may be all we have. It can be difficult to acknowledge that there may not be a second chance for everything. Humans live each day as if there will be no last one, but there is no guarantee even of the next. The choices we make may continue to affect our lives in the future, and what we delay or put-off we may never end up being able to do.  

Not just big life changing decisions, but small decisions also shape how we end up living our lives. We construct our histories and traditions out of the things we do each day. There must have been a first time for every tradition and custom, but the fact that people actively preserved it indicates that they must have thought it worth doing more than once.

We should not only know ourselves, but recognize the limits that we choose to place on ourselves and wisely decide how to spend our time. At the University of Dallas, many of our traditions have meaningful histories. These traditions not only indicate a joy and love that permeates our community, but also a zeal to make the most of our time here.

Although we cannot make time stand still nor ever go back to relive previous years, the past does not totally leave us either.

As we graduate and move on from UD, events like Groundhog may outlive our participation in them, but that makes them no less worthwhile. Tradition unites us throughout time, which constantly moves us from one place to another. Although we may find ourselves in a new dorm next year, uprooted after four years here or moving later in life, the common bond of tradition can unite us with the past.

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