I’m more partial to the sad holiday songs, the sad New Year’s songs. What’s that one by Dan Fogelberg? It’s major/minor kind of sad story song about a long lost love. “Same Ole Ange Syne” (I doubt I spelled that right)? I hate turns of anything. I’m really bad at change. I hang onto things as if letting go was losing a limb. It’s not. It’ll grow back. And really, 2021 can go suck it. It was a terrible year. Or so I thought, until I started looking back at my photos of this year and realized all the things I did amidst a lot of stagnancy and stuckness.
- I bought a kayak and figured out on my own how to navigate four rivers near me. I learned to hoist it up on my car, bungee’d it until I put racks up, got all the right equipment and began doing long paddles every week, sometimes many times a week. My whole life I’ve wanted to be a kayaker. I finally made it happen. Alone.
- I bought a car, a newish car, a car under 2 years old. For the first time. By myself. Without the help of anyone. Except Huck who gave it a thumbs up and now calls it his car. It’s a Mommy car. An SUV and gets less gas mileage than my Prius, but it’ll hold a lot more and as Huck grows up, it’ll hold more of him.
- I put out a record. That just landed on many Best of 2021 lists. Without touring it. I’m really proud of that record. “There Used To Be Horses Here”. It got some notice, great reviews, even though I wasn’t able to play live shows to promote it. I’m so grateful to Proper Records and my team around me that still work with me even when I can’t really work.
- I made another record, “Tucson”, that’s coming out in February. All the songs were written when I was at a treatment center for trauma in Tucson, doing heavy therapy and facing some hard truths and coming out the other side of the darkness. The work isn’t done, but I’m clearer and the songs have a hope threaded between them.
- I got into Graduate School, which is a dream, and have begun my MFA in Creative Writing. I’ve already tripled my output of poems and clearly I’m working on a book (for my thesis) and I can see how this program will also change how I teach, how I write songs, and how I read. Best decision I’ve made in a long time.
- I played a lot with Huck. Watching him grow. Watched him gain words, phrases, skills. He’s incredible and I’m grateful for the time at home to spend with him.
- I bought a baby grand piano, which may seem like a splurge, but it wasn’t – it was a fraction (like a steal) of what a piano usually is. 100 year old Kimball found in a grandmother’s house and lent to her son a heavy metal rock and roller who needed it for a music video and then didn’t want it in his living room. His trash, my treasure. I’ve been playing more piano than I ever have and it’s always been a dream of mine to have a baby grand.
- I deepened some friendships. Let go of anything toxic or problematic. I got very clear on what to lean into this year. I asked for help and offered my own. I got out of my own way
- I stayed sober. Not a small feat in a crap year like this.
- I spent a lot of time with my mother. I’m gonna do this every year.
- I bought an electric guitar and began to write songs on it
- I read a lot of books.
- I loved to the best of my ability. I was honest to the best of my ability.
- I failed. Sometimes spectacularly. But I haven’t given up.
It’s not been easy. But I’m still here. You’re still here. There’s a certain transcendence in walking through the muck together. I hope that in 5 years we are all able to look back on this Time of Covid and reassess not just the losses (which are many) but the gains. We are able to see the light. It’s hard now. It’s still dark. Uncomfortable. Uncertain. But I believe in redemption. I believe in resurrection. And I believe in the inherent goodness of us.
Happy New Year.