The song I always think about this time of year is Josh Ritter’s Empty Hearts (preferably an acoustic version). Instead of making resolutions, I try to just embrace that chorus: “Don’t let me into this year with an empty heart.” I’ve put it on January playlists before, so I didn’t include it this go-round, but there is another J. Ritter gem in there.
Last year I worked through the December holidays, which was…not ideal. While you do form a unique sense of camaraderie with the few coworkers also stuck in the office, it’s not an experience I’m eager to repeat again. I think back 12 months ago, and it was a hectic start to a year that would ultimately bring a lot of change, both personal and professional, in a short period of time. Got a new job. Endured a breakup. Moved across town.
This year, I’ve been lucky to start 2015 with not only a non-empty heart, but a full one. I got to spend Christmas with family. A college friend and I decided we wanted to spend New Years in Paris, and we actually went.
It was almost ten years ago when we were last in Europe together studying abroad junior year. Looking back, the consensus on that experience is, “how did we survive?” We made questionable choices and somehow coordinated entire trips with barely any internet access and completely sans cell phones. And the stories just got crazier as the semester went on. This time, I have no outrageous stories to report. We walked a ton (and my aging knees were less than thrilled), we drank hot wine (which my knees seemed to like) from Christmas markets, we ate so so so much and laughed at our dumb former and current selves. We had the kind of conversations you can only really have when you’re face to face and relaxed. They’re heartening and helpful talks and I don’t have them nearly as much as I’d like.
We also went to a super funky New Year’s Day parade and walked right down the middle of the Champs-Élysées. That was probably more of a one-time experience, and I think I can be OK with that.