The Quiet Time Between Years

It was the quiet time between Christmas and New Year’s. I had finished my morning walk for the day in the dark. It was cold. It was windy. This is the time of year when I usually give myself the gift of time and begin work on business taxes. This year? I was stuck. Not motivated. I was lounging on the couch with the Duff, thinking about stuff. College bowl games. Laundry. Snoozing a bit. You know that time. Spacing out and reveling in it.

As I thought about the upcoming year, I felt weary. I kept reading about other people’s ambitious goals. (Hibernation sounded good.) Instead, I looked back over the past year, seeing what the high points were. Checking out the low ones. Deciding what I wanted to change. I’m here to tell you, that walk down memory lane was a time of sorting and tossing. Discarding and modifying. When I got to my taxes, it was the same process.

Let me share how this went. I started with:

What worked last year?

  • Top of the list was my morning ritual of a walk and cup of tea, followed by brushing out the Duff’s coat. This calmed my mind and set the tone for the day.
  • Making a schedule . . . and sticking to it. It relieved my mind of remembering all those tasks over and over.
  • Expanding my mind: taking writing classes, studying about topics related to my clients, applying what I learned to my life. So many positives.

What didn’t work?

  • Sleep procrastination. When my evening phone alarm went off, I ignored it. Much more fun to play around. Read yet another chapter. Finish those “important tasks.” Bleary-eyed, I paid dearly for this the next day.
  • Did I mention buying too many books?

What was fun?

  • So much! Playing with the Duff. Knitting while watching sports. Buying rubber ducks to play Duck, Duck, Jeep! (And imagining the surprise of a driver when I left it in their door handle.) Getting together with friends to have deep conversations. Christmas lights throughout town.

What wasn’t?

  • Cleaning out my garage. By the time I got to it, the job felt like a huge mountain to me, impossible to climb. I kept prioritizing something else (like sorting my sock drawer) over chipping away at the challenge.

What’s next?

During this lazy time, I began to jot down where I wanted to be at the end of 2024.

  • The positive. I started with the things that worked, figuring out if I wanted to continue them or not . . . That answer was easy. Yes, indeed.
  • The negative. I took a long look at sleep procrastination and asked what I was getting from this late-night delay cycle. Aha! There was a need for more breaks, more fun times during the day. Next? Make more trips to the library to meet my “book fix."
  • Expand fun? You bet. This year I am scanning the horizon for things that intrigue me. Delight me. Amaze me. I want to learn something new.
  • A shift? Change my attitude about cleaning. Anything. My garage. My bedroom. The kitchen. The office. The more I buck the system, the worse it gets. Time for a reset.

After finishing, I felt a little boost of energy, like a log jam breaking up. I had a direction for the new year. I was unstuck! And you can be too.

1 Comment

  1. Marla on 01/22/2024 at 2:51 pm

    Dear Joan,

    Thank you for sharing your story, vulnerability, insight, and wisdom. There were so many areas that I could relate to.

    You’re beautiful inside and out, and I’m lucky to have you as a friend.

    Sending you lots of love, always.


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