Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Back to get me through December

I'm sure there are lots of songs written about the month of December.  I'm sure there are lots of songs written about any month of the year, or day of the week for that matter.  But I feel like every year, I keep coming back to Get Me Through December, sung by Alison Krauss.  It has such a beautiful melancholy ache to it.  But I've also been going through a Taylor Swift kick lately (for the past year, probably), and she also has a beautifully melancholy song - Back to December.  (Taylor, dear, if you're going to be inside in the snow like that, you should wear warmer clothes...)

I'm sick today, and it has my mood down.  I found myself craving a listen to a good melancholy song, and one of my absolute favorite melancholy songs is Whiskey Lullaby, which is probably the most serious I've ever seen Brad Paisley.  But that's beside the point.  Also, the music video only makes the song more depressing, but that is also beside the point.

I'm sick today, so this is going to be all over the place.  Protip: don't share silverware with sick people.

November was an interesting month.  I managed to write about 12,000 words of my NaNo novel, which isn't very close to the 50,000 that is required to win, but I don't really feel like I failed.  Why not?  Well, because I tried.  I got a lot done.  I still have a story that I love, it just isn't all written yet.  And also, Patrick Rothfuss.  And that's really all I have to say on that matter.

I remember back when I was in seventh grade (which was a remarkably long time ago), finding a quote: "many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends can leave footprints on your heart".  I had a thing back then for inspirational quotes.  Right now my feeling towards them, at least towards the short ones, is about the same as my feeling towards out of context Bible verses: they might temporarily comfort or chasten us, they ultimately provide little guidance about how to live our lives.  For that we need context.  Or blind, bumbling experience.

This line especially has been coming back to mind lately, and, as much as I loved it then, it's bothering me now.  Why?  Because it implies that the only people who shape who we are are the ones who really love us.  And, nevermind the poeticalness that's in my head right now, that's bullshit.  Almost everyone I know has been shaped by a painful situation in their past, be it a hurtful person or just tragic circumstances.  That's not necessarily a bad thing - painful circumstances can easily be what make us grow.  Hurtful people can teach us how to love.

It also upsets me the way this quote dismisses the effect that incidental people have on us.  The woman who sat next to me on the airplane, as I flew home to see my grandmother for the last time.  I wouldn't call her a true friend.  We talked for an hour and never spoke again.  I've occasionally considered reaching out to try to thank her for comforting me, but I don't even remember her name.

I was talking with a friend's dad recently, and something he said struck me: "life is too short to let people drive to the fringes of our lives with bad feelings".  There was context, of course, and in context it was guidance.  But I can't help but think now of the implication: everyone in our lives is important.  I don't want to say that everyone in our lives is here for a reason, because I'm not currently a fan of "everything happens for a reason".  However, the people around us have things to teach us, and the people around us are all people, just like us.  While cherishing them may be hurtful, the world is ultimately better off for the love we share.  (And because someone I know is dealing with a stalker right now, I'm going to insert a disclaimer that cherishing does not mean clinging, and it is sometimes more loving to let people go.)

As such, I'm giving myself a goal for December that is slightly wishy-washy (meaning it isn't very trackable) but is very important to me.  I want December to be about cherishing the people in my life - avoiding losing people to bad feelings, as it were.  I'm not sure what form that will take, but I'm going to go for it and see what happens.  I hope that some of you will too.

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