Welcoming Spring and Archiving the Memories and Music of Winter

I never appreciated spring until moving to Indiana and experiencing winter. In San Diego, the seasons are simply dates on a calendar and are indistinguishable from each other. But in the Midwest, spring feels like the reward for getting through winter.

I’ve written before that January and February are not my favorite months. And while I do enjoy winter in the Midwest – especially the early onset of the season in December with snow and warm clothing – I noticed more this season, that parts of winter felt very “heavy” to me. So this year in particular, I’m so happy to welcome the lightness of spring.

These first few days of the season – when the sun is shining and you can feel the warmth on your skin; before the humidity takes hold – feel like a gift. It’s time before the bugs come out and windows are open for the smell of fresh air. When the grass is regrowing and returning to green, and the flowers are blooming and leaves fill the tree branches again. The birds return to the outside world and sing their tunes for the world to hear. It’s a magical period that makes me appreciate the passage of time, and the movement away from the cold.

Living in a place where seasons change, spring cleaning is necessary. I welcome the opportunity to clean out the old and welcome the new. Just this past weekend, I joyfully put away all my long-sleeve running clothes; hallelujah for no more layers! I went through my closet and dresser and put away the sweaters and flannel; and said farewell to my boots. I unpacked my short-sleeve shirts, sleeveless tops and shorts, and brought the flip flops back out. All of this felt so exciting.

And this week I decided to clean out another big area of my life — my music playlists. As many of you know, music plays a big part in my life. Songs keep me company while I work and play in my ears when I run. They’re in the kitchen as I cook dinner, and while I’m driving in the car. And they’re my soundtrack to relaxing at home and even join me in the shower. There’s never a time when a song is not playing in my head.

Many of the “frequent flyer playlists” I’ve been listening to as of late are comprised of songs from this past winter and late fall. So I was fully on board with the concept of “putting away” those tunes and was eager to welcome new and “lighter” tunes into my daily mixes. I’m already finding myself wanting different music with the onset of the new season. Kind of like how we crave different foods in the spring/summer versus the fall/winter, and watch specific movies in different seasons.

But when it came down to the execution of this project, it all felt overwhelming and sad. Perhaps because, for me, music and songs are deeply personal, and are often associated with memories, people, places, events and activities, emotions, long car drives … you get the idea. So the process of moving the songs to a more archival playlist almost felt like I had to say goodbye to the memories, most of them happy ones.

I realized that’s not the case at all; that I’m not actually closing off the past. Just because a song is now on a “Winter 2018-19” playlist, I can still listen to the tune and I’m not saying goodbye to the memory. It’s just freeing up space to welcome new experiences and music.

As I started moving the songs, it felt like I had given myself permission to appreciate everything that’s happened in the last six months and move forward to everything that will come ahead.

I have no reason to think I won’t fill up an entirely new spring (and summer) playlist with awesome new tunes and fulfilling memories. I’m already on a roll with 15 songs from the last few weeks on my “Welcome Spring 2019” playlist. And the wonderful memories and experiences of the past still exist, as do the great tunes. But now I have the mental (and digital) space to welcome new songs, memories and experiences. I’m not constantly listening to the past; I’m listening in the present.

This week, not only am I welcoming the sun along with my warm weather clothes and the rebirth of nature, I’m also embracing new music and memories yet to be made. I’m excited for the warmth, the change, and what will come ahead. Let’s go spring – I’m ready for you!

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