January 18 – January 24
I find myself listening to the same music that I had been listening to a year ago. The Colourist, Walk the Moon, Bastille, TATE, Oasis, Elliott Smith. It’s the week before the last of January. January isn’t of any great importance on a given year, except this same time last year I was just coming into the city.
So every time one of these songs come on, everything around me feels anew. And when things feel new, somehow they’re more spectacular than they should appear. The 9 AM trek from my apartment three blocks down to the bus. The stream of dance indie hits that serenade the air of the cabana-themed bar where you’ve crashed Juan’s 40th birthday bash before. The radio hits you subsequently hear on the Jambox of the office parties on a rainy Friday. Or in the Uber heading home from across town. There’s an endless playlist of these these tunes that are hard to name right now as I sit but they’re not just tunes– they’re amazing memories, too.
And when I hear one I compare my current disposition to what I had imagined before the year behind me had even unfolded. I was excited, eager, ready to be out every night and working hard in the day to return peacefully back into the night that was San Francisco madness. But it seems that sadly, the madness wore off. There were times I wasted a day in bed or moods that kept me from actually making out to live shows in the Mission in favor of just sitting warm listening to the radio in the kitchen. I was forgetting that within these comforts of a home in San Francisco, there was more to be done. The worst part is, some of these new songs from this past year will only remind me of those lackluster moments in this time. I hear the music, but there’s no longing to dance.
But almost perfectly, a year after this big move, I was suddenly pulled from my back against the wall. An expedited envelope from Canada on my desk, inside containing one of the most beautifully written and thoughtful letters of gratitude, from one ambitious friend to another. This friend no longer lives in the city but he will return in the spring, and more driven than his last time. Here and now, though, on this desk, he wrote of a funny tale. Of a guy who made it past unforeseen obstacles in school and opportunities to sit atop one of the highest points in a city nearly 3,000 miles from home. His dance was coming to an end, the music seeming like the closing act. But here on this 40th floor there was someone who seemed, despite her own feelings of drab contentment, ready to take the stage. Any moment, any chance to get out there and still prove something.
“She shook me awake from my comfort and satisfaction and reminded me that I wanted more,” the letter proclaims, “Paris Kim is a writer, and great writers inspire.”
Remember to dance, because there is always someone watching your every move. Keep in mind that where you feel lacking, your dreams are more fulfilled than the dreams of others. I may say I am a writer, but for awhile, “great” was a lovely, fleeting dream. A new year begins, and a greater pursuit of the greater things in this city shall commence and not without the sounding trumpets of glorious songs to keep me motivated that the future is scary, uncertain– and for those reasons, the best thing I’ve got.
So I’m listening to all of these songs again, on a Sunday back from Brunch, new ring– and outlook– in hand. The music you move to now was the one that moved you forward from the start and shall keep you moving along to something bigger than now.