See You, January

A very good friend of mine shared this the other day, originally from The Winter of the Air:

Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and listening to music that for some reason is really getting to your heart. You’re just standing there thinking about going to work and picking up your dry cleaning. And also more exciting things like books you’re reading and trips you plan on taking and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. And suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home but “Mom’s” probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either. There used to be the comfort of a number in your phone and ears that listened everyday and arms that were never for anyone else. But just to calm you down when you started feeling trapped in a five-minute period where nostalgia is too much and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you’ll never be this young again but this is the first time you’ve ever been this old. When you can’t remember how you got from sixteen to here and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. The song is over. The coffee’s done. You’re going to breath in and out. You’re going to be fine in about five minutes.

The numbers might need a nudge this way or that. The bits and pieces may not quite line up with my script. This piece doesn’t perfectly reflect my story, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how the words are arranged. No, it’s about the truth under the surface, and that truth resonated with a lot of people. With me. With my friend.

You might call us kindred spirits, of a sort. She reminds me as often as I need her to I’m not quite alone, which is weird because we live thousands of miles apart. Sometimes all it takes is knowing someone is on the other end, and that she cares.

So you talk. About anything. Like how you don’t like January. How you really, really don’t like January. How it always feels like an ending rather than a beginning. And you wonder together why that is.

I guess, well, maybe —

Because even though my beloved autumn/winter half of the year still has a few more months left in it, I’m keenly aware that we’re over the hump, and the other seasons are fast approaching. And I always feel like I didn’t make the most of my favorite half of the year.

Because October flowing into November and December seems to ramp up the festivities like it’s a contest of one-upmanship. The silly fun of Halloween gives way to the Thanksgiving reunion, gives way to the one-two punch of Christmas and New Years. After that — all the excuses to spend time with family are spent and it’s January and it feels like nothing noteworthy is approaching for the foreseeable future.

Because the people I love who visit for the Christmas season from far-off places go back to their respective far-off places at the start of January and then I realize how lonely the world is without them.

So January and I aren’t friends. Sometimes I hate it, and hate the me who only seems to exist in January. And sometimes I’m not sure I’ll ever get out of the dark, ugly place that this month is.

It’s not your fault, January, but I blame you anyway. Sorry. Maybe next time will be better.

But that brings me back to the experience my distant friend and I shared over that bit of prose up there. Just the fact that another human has felt the same way — the fact that we can find common ground from opposite ends of the country — keeps me going.

Because as much as I feel at times that I’m alone, I realize I never am. And neither are you.


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