Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Traditions

I started two new New Years traditions yesterday, on the first New Years Eve of my new life.

First I packed up all the things that don't belong here and took them to Goodwill. Because I live in a small place now, I'm pretty ruthless about getting rid of things that aren't necessary, and I'd been accumulating them in boxes and bags. I'm amazed at how much there was, given that I've lived here only four months. I think a lot of it was due to not knowing exactly what I would need, and erring on the side of bringing too much along in the moving caravan. Nowadays, I take a lot of thinking time before I buy anything new, so next year I shouldn't have quite as much to give away.

Two items in particular deserve a noble sendoff. I finally decided to retire my writing sweatshirt and pants. They were not new when I began writing full time in the fall of 2007, and I wore them pretty much every single day between October and May. It's not that I don't own other clothes - but these were perfect. Soft, and warm and snuggly, and cozy and comforting. I did wash them every few days, but I put them on right out of the dryer. I wrote about ten books and a couple dozen stories in those sweats, and that is not an exaggeration...and, sadly, they wore plum out.

I could have eked another year out of them, I suppose. The holes weren't that big. The fact that the pants were falling off me was testament to my healthier lifestyle. But in this year of change, it seemed like I might as well take a deep breath and let go.

The other new tradition was to watch the sun set over the city. I looked up the official sunset time - 5pm - and made sure to get a great seat half an hour in advance. I had the steps to a grand mausoleum all to myself, and I sat and watched the sky streak with color and then erupt in brilliant orange before the sun slipped down behind the San Francisco hills across the bay. I felt deliciously melancholy and inspired and yes, a little smug that I thought of doing this. I'll definitely be back next year.

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