As I write this, rain is hitting the windowpanes behind me. It’s late December, and cars outside are splashing through the puddles, telltale signs that Winter has descended upon San Francisco. New friends here aren’t yet used to the rain, and I understand…I remember my first winter here, wondering where the snow was (read: Tahoe), wondering why it had to rain EVERY SINGLE DAY. (Answer? To make Tahoe so wonderful.) Yet it makes you weary, this weather that we have, being cold and damp and after a few days of constant downpours, the drops hitting the windowpane aren’t soothing anymore, but constricting. Limiting. It’s easy to go a little stir-crazy in San Francisco in the Winter, and that’s why we so often count the days until weekends appear, stuffing into cars with heaters blaring for the at-least three-hour ride to Tahoe, which makes it all worth it. Or get away to where they have ‘real’ Winters, i.e., New York, which is smack dab in the midst of a Snowpocalypse, as they’re calling it these days.
But whatever the Winter brings, wherever you are, it’s a time of endings. Closing doors. Waiting for windows to open, or waiting for you to open them yourself. People reflect back on the year past so often during this time of the year – none more so than the week between Christmas and New Years, as it is right now – and anticipate the year ahead, bringing with it a promise of reinvigoration. Rebirth. New beginnings. The chance to start fresh, close the door on last year’s mistakes and get ready to make new ones instead. It’s an exciting time, yet that week or so approaching it, when work is quiet, when friends and family are traveling, when the rain hits the windowpanes, seems like a chance for you to catch your breath and get ready for the days to come.
December 2010 was a complete whirlwind for me; a ton of travel, parties, celebrations, new goals, fun projects, and a chance to get caught up and reprioritize. Focus on what’s important. And who. And in a lot of ways, the ‘who’ is actually ‘you’. We too often put others before ourselves, and I hate that the word ‘selfish’ has negative connotations. There needs to be a new reclaiming of that word…’selfish’. Because it’s not putting yourself first at the expense or exclusion of others, as the definition says, but sometimes it’s reconfiguring the balance. Making sure you’re being good to yourself AND others, as kindness needs to be devoted to both. And one of the best ways to be kind to yourself is to be kind to others…finding something bigger than you that you can help with – as I energetically embraced with TheTwelveDaysofGiving campaign I held to benefit charity: water. It grounds you, reminds you what really matters, especially during the craziness of the Holidays. And knowing that this is good for you, THAT’S the type of selfishness that is important. That we should embrace and foster. And share.
So during the last month of this year – which I will reflect upon in much greater detail tomorrow when I post my “Best of 2010” post & mix – I included songs that were with me on my trips to New York, Cleveland, Denver and back to San Francisco. They’re the songs that I’ll be taking with me as I head to New York again for New Years, the town that has been so good to me during a year of recalibration, this past year of letting go. And so I wanted to honor that with two tracks with the same name: This Year. One is by The Mountain Goats; the other, by Hurricane Bells. They’re the first and the last tracks on the Mix, and set the stage for The Best of 2010 compilation and the forthcoming January Mix.
As for the name: Winter Winds. I thought about including the Mumford & Sons track by this name, but actually prefer the lyrics of “The Cave”, which is included, a bit more. Yet it seemed fitting for the name of December 2010, so, there it is.
And for a minor Type-A regret of mine, I’m really irked at myself for missing both May and June 2010 for the mixes. The thought of having a full year of the songs that I was listening to, as a way to reflect and remember, is so lovely. But alas, that was during a pretty non-stop period of new jobs and new loves and new experiences, and it fell by the wayside. Next year I’ll do better, I promise.
And so I hope you enjoy “Winter Winds: December 2010 Mix” as much as I’ve enjoyed curating these mixes all year.
1. This Year: The Mountain Goats
2. I Can’t Stand: Zola Jesus
3. Acid Reign: Violens
4. All Yr Songs: Diamond Rings
5. Freak Out: Tapes ‘n Tapes
6. Stamp: The Rural Alberta Advantage
7. Not in Love (featuring Robert Smith): Crystal Castles
8. Runaway (featuring Pusha T): Kanye West
9. Teenage Dream: Katy Perry
10. Block after Block: Matt & Kim
11. You Oughta Know: Das Racist
12. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains): Arcade Fire
13. Missed the Boat: Modest Mouse
14. Shell Games: Bright Eyes
15. I Do Not Care For the Winter Sun: Beach House
16. The Cave: Mumford & Sons
17. This Year: Hurricane Bells