The lines between authenticity, open mindedness, and conformity are surprisingly blurry. Take, for instance, family centered seasonal rituals. Do I enjoy apple picking and hay rides? No. Do I find them so distasteful or morally objectionable that I will refuse to take part in them on principle? No.
Pictures of Happy Families Creating Memories While Enjoying Fall Seasonal Activities are plastered everywhere from mantelpieces to my facebook feed. Is it really that lots and lots of people like apple picking and hay rides so these activities therefore naturally suggest themselves as occasions for photo shoots? Is this one of those monkey-see, monkey-do keeping up with the Joneses things that people feel compelled to do so they can show appropriate evidence of happiness at high school reunions and extended family get togethers?
I don’t know. But maybe, I thought, my family should give it a try because even though I feel very meh about the whole prospect, the rest of my family might like it. And at the very least then we’d have culturally accepted evidence of our wholesomeness which might be useful if there’s a neighborhood witch hunt or it somehow becomes necessary to impress very judgmental people at cocktail parties.
So I say, “I feel like we should do something wholesome and autumnal so that when people ask what we did this weekend instead of saying “we drank beer and played Uno” we can say that we smugly frolicked in orchards. Maybe we should go apple picking…”
“That’s masochistic,” my kid replies.
“Where did you learn that word?”
“From my dad.”
“What does it mean?”
“That they sell apples in stores.”
Fair enough point. So maybe we will not embrace fall via that particular route. I can easily chalk that up to “being true to ourselves.”
Perhaps I’ll try to develop an authentic interest in seasonal gourds or wreath making or something so that we still have opportunities to Create Memories While Enjoying Fall Seasonal Activities and tastefully display our familial virtuousness in case neighborhood pets start to go missing.