Resolutions are just expectations, which are often unrealistic. I’m really good at unrealistic expectations, and allowing my failure to meet them send me into a tailspin. So it seems in my best interest to skip the resolutions. Perhaps reassessment is a better route. I guess the end of a year tends to naturally default to that mode for me, so maybe I should also be taking it a step further as we step into the new year, and think about how I can respond to my reassessment. A New Year’s Response.
The reassessment is in progress, and I’m still processing and examining, but one thing I know is this feeling of stillness among dizzying motion. Not stillness in a healthy, intentional way, but the feeling of the world spinning on without you. The way it feels when there is a death within your circle--everything else is still going around you, but you’re stuck in slow motion in the dark. This time of year often pushes me in that direction, but this year’s muscles seem stronger. Like they’ve been doing benchpresses with the weight of the pandemic closing in on its second year and me turning 41. I’m sure some of you may have rolled your eyes or laughed at that last part. It’s not the age itself--I know it’s young in the big picture--but the snowballing visions and thoughts that have come with it, tumbling into something bigger by a recent health scare. It’s as if for years I’ve been walking by a painting on the living room wall depicting mortality, and I’ve now realized it has actually been a mirror.
There’s a lot to unpack as I assess what feels like an unraveling. My threads fraying and flailing in the winter wind. But perhaps having them separated will allow a better view, and they can be traced back farther than when they were woven tightly, and I’ll be able to see how they want to be put back together--what my New Year’s Response should be.
As 2021 is ending, I’m following a particular thread back to where it got weaved in over 20 years ago, as Christmas gift from a dear high school friend. We haven’t stayed in super close contact over recent years, but we reach out here and there, particularly since moving back to Louisiana to check in about how we’re both weathering hurricanes. With COVID and schedules, we haven’t actually seen each other since it started, and it had been a few years prior to that when we did see each other. But some time after we moved to our place, I was going through a box of things we’d left with my parents while we were living on the road full-time, and there she was with me as I read her sweet note in the front of a beautiful copy of Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” she’d gifted me so many years ago. I sent her a picture of it and put the book in its new home on our bookshelf. Not long after that, the prompt for one of my monthly songwriting groups was “prophet.” I pulled the book down to leaf through it for inspiration, and a character and story found their way to me and I started a song. What I shared with my group that month didn’t quite feel done, so it went into the ever-growing “working on” pile.
A couple of weeks ago, the song was randomly running through Pete’s head. We usually take any unsolicited showing-up of a song in one of our heads as a sign that we should pull it out to work on again. So we did. Then last week, as we were closing in on an arrangement (which uses a cool new-to-me guitar tuning and more involved fingerpicking than I’m used to), I made a quick run to the store near our house. Because of where a parking spot was available and the direction I was facing, I did something I usually don’t, and backed in to the spot. The moment I put the car in park I see that friend who gave me the book and her wife through the windshield, walking back to their car. I knock on my driver side window and yell her name through the glass as I clamor out to their beautiful in-person faces for a lovely and long overdue parking lot chat.
A 20-something year long thread, showing up in the pattern again. I love this circle of gifts. And that we can weave it all your way.
In the spirit of sharing as this year closes, we want to offer what we sent to our Patreon community this month. This newsletter was the post, and here is a private link to the video of the new song we’re working on. If you’re interested in joining our little community over at Patreon to receive monthly offerings of what we’re creating and a behind-the-scenes look, you can find more info here.
Thank you for being here. We love connecting with you through this newsletter, and hope you are safe and healthy. May we all find what we need, and what we want our New Year’s Responses to be, as we turn the calendar page.