Dead Week

I’ve long felt the week between Christmas and New Year’s was weird, unsettled, drifting in some kind of void. Even back in my retail days when this week meant harried hours at work, the time still felt unlike any other.

Well, of course I’m not alone. Austin Kleon introduced me to the term Dead Week. (I’m not a paid subscriber to Kleon’s newsletter, so I couldn’t read the entire piece. Just, FYI.) He linked to this article in The Atlantic where he got the term. (Only click if you want to use your free-articles limit.)

For me, Dead Week is for writing and clearing stuff out. Hanging out in pajamas all day doesn’t bring me joy. Kudos to you if it does! But my brain associates that with sickness, and it makes me skin itch. I teach three semesters a year, fifteen weeks each. I have these precious weeks between terms with no papers to grade and no lessons to plan. I can focus on what I want. Thank goodness for my sanity.

But during Dead Week, the names of the days feel meaningless. What day is it? Tuesday? If you say so. What hour is it? No idea. Am I hungry? It’s time to eat.

Where we live, this week means the holidays are coming to an end, and, obviously, a New Year looms ahead. But for now the lights are still strung around the house, shining in the cold dark, and chocolates and treats are still waiting to be eaten.

I’m also at that age when loss becomes far more common. Several friends have lost their parents this year, or even siblings or friends. Obviously, such losses can come at any time. My mom died soon after my 21st birthday when she was only 45. So, I know that feeling. But also obviously, they will come more often as one gets older. And I know that feeling of reaching a year that is the first year without a certain someone in it. It’s a hard time for many. Maybe a kinder term would be Liminal Week or Week on the Threshold.

They really aren’t as catchy.

Suggestions welcome!

Thanks for reading, and welcome to the end of the year!


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