is it snowing where you are?

It's been a few days since 2020 ended and I am already breathing easier. Most of this relief is in my head — nothing spectacular happened once the new year arrived and nothing really heinous happened when it departed. We were not met with fireworks or guillotines. The passing of time, however spliced - a year, a week, a chapter, an era - is easily defined by dates but more accurately defined by emotion. 

The first snow, a heavy snow, came the day after Christmas. That is when my winter started. The real New Year will come when we move into our new place in three weeks. What changed after 11:59 except a timestamp and a state of mind. I love a self-proclaimed new beginning. I am also terrified of them. 

Today was the first Monday of the new year. I woke up earlier than normal, washed my hair, made a cup of coffee. Added almond extract. Work felt the same as it always does, only slightly slower than usual. I talked to a friend whose marriage might be ending, who is entering the battle of the in-between. It is one I know well. The familiarity and ease of what is there, maybe unfulfilling, toe to toe with the vastness and brightness and vigor of what you know to be possible. Two selves cannot sustain themselves simultaneously, no matter what we are taught to believe. I mentioned new things to my therapist tonight that I want desperately to move through but it will be a long time before I mention them again. I made dinner with my partner. I read halfway through a new book. 

There is always a beginning. Marking my own new year, defining my own winters. Proclaiming space and time.