For as long as I can remember, the time between Christmas Day and the day that the kids go back to school is a very blue time for me. I’ve spent years trying to stop this from happening, but try as I might, I find myself in Funky Town once again (and not the town with cool afros, bell-bottomed pants and bitchin’ music). Don’t worry, I’m going to keep digging in and fighting the good fight to push my way past this, but perhaps you’ll indulge me and take a walk though this with me. Maybe together, I can make some sense of it all. And maybe, I’m not the only one.
It used to be that I was actually terrified of the New Year. A really struggled with massive anxiety each year as the calendar poised on change. I would desperately try to hold on to the current year because within that year, all of my family and friends were safe and whole and with me. The New Year always felt like a big black hole of scary. But as my logical brain knows, trying to hold on to time is impossible. I’d have an easier time trying to stop sugar from melting in a handful of water.
It took some major back-to-back losses in our family for me to lose my true fear of the New Year. I’m no longer terrified. Just funky. Through those losses I learned that nothing is worse than losing a loved one, so the turn of the page of the calendar, or the closing out of a year is nothing.
And yet here I am again, feeling the post holiday blues. I think a contributing factor is that I liken the debris and mess that comes after all of the gifts are unwrapped to that of black snow. You know that cruddy black snow the day after a beautiful snowfall? Yeah, that. The beauty and the sparkle is gone. We’re left with shreds of wrapping paper, crushed up boxes, and big black trash bags holding all of the previous loveliness that was so carefully chosen, wrapped, displayed and presented. All reduced to black trash bags and piles of new stuff that no one knows where to put. Ugh.
I also find the thought of New Year resolutions daunting. I have failed for years at keeping them, so I don’t make them anymore, which fills me with guilt. Setting goals is good, I get it. But the pressure to resolve to commit to something right now…. How on earth can I choose? There are so many things that need fixing. How can I pick just one? And I certainly cannot handle more than one. Help!
Sometimes I think that these feelings stem from the simple fact that Christmas is over. For months I have spent every extra moment thinking and planning for others. What gift will I buy for my husband? How soon do I get the presents for out of town family into the mail? What special dessert will I make for my inlaws on Christmas Eve? Did we pull enough ornaments off the giving tree at church? What special activities can I squeeze in with my kids to really make some awesome Christmas memories? Literally every free moment from Halloween until Christmas Day revolves around thinking and planning for others. And isn’t that what we’ve been put on this earth to do? It brings me joy to do this, but it’s also exhausting. So now what?
I envy those who get super jazzed about the prospect of a clean slate with the New Year. I wish I could see it that way. In truth, that’s how I look at a new school year. A fresh start full of possibilities and excitement. But the crushing fall schedule has sufficiently killed off all of those feelings. The New Year just feels like free falling and I’m afraid of heights. But off I go, whether I like it or not, into the unknown with nothing but my parachute of internal joy and gratitude. 2017 was an amazing year of good changes and growth. I pray that 2018 offers all of us opportunities beyond our wildest dreams. But for now, I’m just going to do… tomorrow.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!