Full Circle

The truth is, I find myself just a bit startled by where I am in my life. 

This isn’t what I expected.  It isn’t what I planned for.  In fact, I made decisions and commitments that should have dictated that I wouldn’t be precisely where I am.

And yet…

I can’t imagine it any other way. 

It’s hard to let go of what I anticipated; to abandon that vision of what my life would be.  But when I do—when I push myself to embrace not so much what might have been but instead what is—I’m aware of how happy I am.  And I remember that (to state the very obvious) it’s pointless not to celebrate it.  We can’t change where we’ve arrived, we can only affect where we’re going.  (And right now I’m content not knowing exactly where that is yet.)

In April I invited the Austin band Full Service into my classroom to perform an acoustic show for roughly 50 of my students as part of a unit on lyrical interpretation.  (Check out my post about that show.)  The founding members, brothers Hoag and Bonesaw, were new friends of mine.  I met them before knowing that they were in a touring band, but quickly became a “Fansaw” when I heard their music.  I followed their acoustic classroom-show with an electric one at Stubb’s Barbecue soon after. 

Enter transition.

I’d been quietly, inwardly struggling with some things for a long time; silently and privately wrestling my proverbial demons.  I finally found the courage to face them head-on in the spring — to talk talk about them, even — and that naturaly led to a series of major life-altering decisions.  Since April I’ve changed jobs/schools, moved twice, and taken some major steps in my writing life.  Full Service songs like “Strings”, “The Pieta” and “Ramona” became the soundtrack to one of the most pivotal seasons of my life. 

But summer is over now.  Fall is officially upon us, and winter rapidly approaches.  It’s all happened so damn fast.  So when I saw FS perform an acoustic set at their house party  last weekend, I felt distinctly aware of the changing seasons, and just how much has changed for me in these last months. 

I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but the music sounded different.  Not better, and certainly not worse, just…new.  I know the songs (and the people, for that matter) better.  They were mainstays on my iPod for six months, and now everything in my life is flipped upside down.  Maybe it’s even beginning to change again.  I’m a new person in many ways, and so “Hi Ho” and “Kristine” sounded fresh and unique.  I was slightly startled when Bonesaw declared that “No One Can Find Me” is his favorite track on Roaming Dragons (I’d always thought it was “Strings”—my favorite as well), but when they played the tune I realized just how good it is.  I heard it with new ears.  I’d always liked it and all, but I appreciated it more somehow.    

We all have those songs that we associate with specific times and places, so that when we hear them we’re brought back in a palpable way.  That night was the opposite for me.  It wasn’t a reminder of where I was seven months ago, it was a realization of where I am now.  And a piece of bittersweet evidence that I like this place.