On New Years Eve 2010, I went out late at night to grab Chinese food for my last meal of the year, as has been my personal tradition for some time now. I drove the quiet, dark, and frozen streets of rural Western New York alone with nothing to keep me company but my thoughts and my mix-tape. After having successfully infiltrated Chinese soil and escaped with my prized loot, I trudged across an empty parking lot mottled with craters full of ice water and slush, mountains of plowed snow rising in the distance. As I lit the ignition on my car to head back home, this song began to play:
The timing could not have been more serendipitous. In the midst of a calming voyage of several miles through the wilderness of East Aurora, my mood was ponderous and my thoughts were focused on the coming year and the challenges ahead. In three weeks I would enter my final semester of college, where I would be enrolled in a few difficult classes, in charge of one of the most visible clubs on campus during its moment of glory (or disaster), and frantically searching for a career, facing grim job prospects with no luck up to that point. I would graduate in five months without any idea where I was going from there. Just five months into the year, I’d most likely be on my own, drifting through life desperately looking for direction and purpose.
John Darnielle is an amazing musician and lyricist, and I kept his words in my head all the way through to New Years Eve 2011 and beyond. I aced my classes (except for one), guided Grand Marshal week to the most success it’s seen in recent years, had several job interviews during the year including an amazing two-day trip to California, graduated with honors, received a job offer from said California company, adventured across the country, settled into a new life on my own in a strange place, and at the end of 2011 things could practically not have been going any better.
I made it through, and it didn’t kill me. 🙂