There’s that mundanity that sets in after the twelve days of Christmas are over that reminds us we’re back into regular time. Many people no longer believe in the sacred, but the holidays are still sacred time. January can be kind of stark that way. Once we reach Halloween the rest of the year seems achievable, but there’s a lot to do between now and then. Reemerging from the run-up to the holidays—it’s the long period of anticipation for the rest that comes at the end of the year—back to what is now being called BAU (business as usual) is like cold water on your face first thing in the morning. Each time I wonder if I’ll have the energy to do it all again.
Holidays punctuate and define our year. It may be that your December holiday is fading now to a (hopefully) pleasant memory, but depending on your employer you might have Martin Luther King Day coming up soon. I’ve known people to complain that it comes too soon after they’ve already had a few days off and they’d rather have a different day, later. That kind of misses the point. Business analysts (whom business leaders listen too except when they don’t like what they say) suggest that the four-day work week is sufficient to achieve what we need, now that we’re connected all the time. Some jobs, of course, require your physical body to be in a specific geographic location and there’s not much that can be done about that. Hours can be reduced if more people are hired, but we’re going through a strange period of people quitting their jobs. I’ve always wondered what that must feel like. Is it like a long holiday, only with even more financial worries?
The twelve days are over, and although I didn’t have all of them off I kind of wonder where they went. Some folks are eager to get the tree down and decorations put away. To look out at the blank canvas of snow and envision how to paint the year ahead. Others of us see the wisdom of hibernation. Bears seem to have the right idea. Still, I enjoy the starkness of January. The cold can be bracing and the snow a chore to remove. But being out in it can become a kind of holiday in its own right. Our time on earth should be a time of celebration, even as we look forward to the holidays later this year.