“It’s the holiDAYS, not the holiMONTHS. Don’t let your foot off the gas right now!”
~An Instagram meme that annoys me
I’ve never been a fan of the #riseandgrind culture celebrated by the Tony Robbinses and Rachel Hollises of the world. Or the relentless, self-absorbed weight loss programs forced down the throats of anyone with a vagina at year’s end. Hustle and deprivation is not a worldview I embrace.
It’s Twixmas as I write, that long, wonderful week between Christmas and New Year. That week when we are called to take a collective breath. A week that asks us to reflect on the year past and consider how we want to move forward. A time of hibernation, cozy pajamas, and couch time. A time when time loses all meaning. Even if it isn’t a week off from work, it also isn’t quite a return to the normal rhythm of regular life.
The term Twixmas comes from the word betwixt, meaning between. This is a liminal space, a time to incubate mind and body. In England, It’s called Boxing Week, a time to box up stuff you don’t want and regift it to someone who might. Still other countries call it Dead Week. Norway calls it romjul, meaning space for celebrating the yuletide.
Our culture sadly denigrates space filled with nothingness. Social media is especially insidious in helping to spread the toxic message that we should have it all, be it all, do it all … and all at once. We’re told we can manifest health, wealth, fame, beauty, and healthy, loving relationships with the right mindset, work ethic, and catfish filter. And we better start right this minute to get a jump on the new year. Our Go Big or Go Home mentality sees overworking and overstriving as a badge of honor, a humble brag that sets us apart from our lazier peers.
It’s okay to lay down the hustle. The word hustle, after all, originally referred to a swindle or deception. Hustle was always a lie.
Humans can be so exhausting. Animals and plants don’t need to be taught how to winter well. They don’t pretend it’s not happening, barreling through their days with the same vigor and speed of summer. Instead, they lean into it, sleeping and snuggling. Seeds burrow deep beneath a protective layer of soil, withdrawing into quiet while making use of available resources to grow vibrant and lush come spring.
Twixmas is not the time to push onward. It is a time to go inward.
My family has never traditionally been able to celebrate Twixmas, since my husband worked in a hospital for 25 years. Out of those, he actually worked 12 Christmas days and every single Boxing Day. To be clear, he worked as a physical therapist. He wasn’t a firefighter or paramedic or ER doctor. He wasn’t saving anyone’s life and he should not have been considered an essential worker. But he was stuck in the cogs of our healthcare system, which prizes profit over people. When he decided to go PRN last year, he became an independent contractor. And now we have the incredible freedom to choose time over money. I absolutely realize this is a privilege not afforded all, and it’s one I will never stop being grateful for (I’m betting retail workers must especially dread this hellish week). So I canceled all yoga classes this week and we are luxuriating in the glorious nothingness. It’s not really a holiday and it’s not exactly a vacation, but a time where the clock slows.
Today I ate cake for breakfast. I’ll probably drink a lot of coffee and have a mimosa in the bath. I definitely won’t put on a bra. I plan to stare out the window for a while and bury my face in my cat’s fur. At some point I might get on the floor and stretch my hips. I will avoid the emails, my phone, and the incessant call to grind in any way. Simply existing feels like more than enough.