The Week in Between

Last night my wife turned to me, “Today was Tuesday, right?”

We talked about this weird week between Christmas and New Year. The frenzy of choir concerts and family gatherings is over, nearly all the Christmas baking has mysteriously disappeared. But the next thing has yet to begin. I’m not sure what day it is. The kids will stay in their pajamas all day while I emerge to check what is (hopefully) a quiet inbox.

Last week I lamented the lack of rest in a what is, judging by the waning sunlight, supposed to be a slow winding down into the winter solstice.

But suddenly here we are.

I hadn’t truly appreciated this week in between until today, when I read Helena Fitzgerald’s All Hail Dead Week, the Best Week of the Year (thx Austin). She calls this “Dead Week”, and an opportunity for “quietly luxuriating in what might be the only collective chance for deep rest all year.”

I’ve often bucked against the week’s lack of productivity and feeling of aimlessness. But maybe this is precisely the aim of this week in between. Maybe it’s uncomfortable because it’s unfamiliar, particularly after weeks of kids concerts, scads of gifts bought wrapped and unwrapped, multiple family engagements, each moment of each day planned and purposeful.

Here we have the opportunity to rest.

It is a week off from the forward-motion drive of the rest of the year. It is a time against ambition and against striving. Whatever we hoped to finish is either finished or it’s not going to happen this week, and all our successes and failures from the previous year are already tallied up. It’s too late for everything; Dead Week is the luxurious relief of giving up.

– Helena Fitzgerald

Maybe instead of lamenting the unproducivity of this week, it’s time to be quiet, listen, molt, reflect, and take queues from the low and lazy sunlight.

If it’s not done now, it can wait.

Except for those last Christmas cookies on the counter, better take care of those…