This week’s Musical Memoir comes to us from Aubrey of Star-shaped.org (she’s in the middle of a server migration right now, so make sure to remember to give her some love when her blog’s back up!). I’ve known Aubrey for ages via her blog… and unfortunately, she moved to New Hampshire just as I left. What a bummer that was! Today, she’s graced us with her memory of In A Year by The Walkmen.
Back in 2009, I worked at a job about 25 miles away, one way. Instead of taking the highways and interstates through Massachusetts to get me to work in 45 minutes instead of 50, I took the back roads and drove through small towns in New Hampshire. Exeter. Kingston. Stratham. I cursed when a school bus pulled in front of me, but loved stopping by the small farmstand on my drive home.
I spent a lot of time listening to music because of this commute. Since I had an hour and a half to kill every day, I found monthly playlists to download and load onto my iPod, allowing me to discover new music while in my car. I loved it.
I moved to New Hampshire in 2009, after I turned my life upside down: my marriage ended, I started dating someone else, and he broke my heart into a million pieces. I spent most of the beginning of 2009 mourning the loss of my husband and of the man who had taken my heart. I struggled, tried to smile, but cried behind my office door every day at work. I needed a change. New Hampshire? Big change. A hard change. Moving + divorce + heartbreak = difficult times. I couldn’t wait to be through them.
At the end of 2009, I drove home from work in the dark. Snow swirled around my car as I turned my gaze forward, watching headlights from the other way, subconsciously listening to the sounds from my iPod.
It’s gonna be a good year… out of the darkness, and into the fire…
I felt warm, sitting in my car, newly knit mittens on my hands. Yes. 2010 will be my year, I thought to myself. And my heart’s in the strangest place… I pushed thoughts of him out of my mind. I will find someone better, someone strong, someone for me.
I listened to this song over and over throughout the end of 2009. I remember thinking 2010 would be different, that I’d finally get over being sad and upset over the events that had occurred in 2008. 2009 was my year of healing, and 2010 would be my year of growth, my year of becoming myself, rising from the ashes of my former life.
Of course, 2010 ended up being memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. Not a month went by in 2010 and my dad had fallen at home, fainted, and broke his 3rd and 4th vertebrae. I remember the texts from my sister, driving 85 miles an hour across the Mass Pike, googling the address to the hospital, and slumping against the wall of the waiting room when my sister told me he’d probably never walk or use his arms again. What happened to optimism? What happened to things getting better? Selfish thoughts, I know, and even now I’m embarrassed I thought them while my father struggled with his new life. Darkness.
Out of the darkness, however, came happiness of the best kind. I fell in love again, with an intelligent and handsome man. I met Ted for the first time in 2009, only a few months after I moved to New Hampshire. We didn’t talk much at our first meeting, as he’d been in a relationship at the time, but we started seeing each other more around town around the time of my dad’s accident. A few months later, in May 2010, he asked me out on a date, and we’ve been inseparable since. After the events of 2008 and 2009, and even my dad’s accident in 2010, I felt at peace. I felt loved, happy, and optimistic, for both myself and for my family. I changed. Light.
This song, “In the New Year” by the Walkmen, reminds me of optimism in the face of darkness. it reminds me of driving in my car at night, in the dark, in the winter right before Christmas, wearing mittens and a winter coat and hats and scarves and dreaming of a warmer, happier time in the future.
The snow is still falling
And I’m almost home
. . .
Aubrey is a 30 something girl living on the coast of New Hampshire with her fiance and 3 cats. When she’s not knitting, spinning, or ignoring her blog, she drinks awesome craft beer and plays with code. Check out her musings on beer, knitting, and general life at http://star-shaped.org.