Tis the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse. Seriously, no one has done anything in days, you stay awake until 3:00 AM staring at your phone and television shows you would never otherwise watch and when you wake up the sun is about to set.

Perhaps you’re at your parents’ or significant other’s parent’s house for a few days rapidly putting on weight. Or maybe you’ve returned to your normal life and are back at work, arriving to a ghost town at ten o'clock, taking a two-hour lunch, and leaving by three. Maybe, in an act of defiance against the “Lost Week,” you’ve headed somewhere warm to sit by the beach and sip mimosas until standing feels like an unmanageable feat and an afternoon naps becomes mandatory.

There’s something special about this week, the only time of the year it could be appropriate to make plans after midnight one night and be in bed by nine the next. The malaise is a mixture of the post-holiday sadness reminding you that your dead-end job will be waiting for you in the new year, the increase in weight and loss in energy, and the realization that your refrain that “you would accomplish so much if you only had more time” is entirely false. In fact, without the structure of your job’s wakeup call, your life has devolved into little more than re-watching mediocre television shows because even the effort of discerning which unwatched television programming is worth your while is too much.

When you initially booked your flight to your hometown, you were excited about how much extra time you’d have to work out. Sure, you’d take Christmas day off, but you could be in the gym two times a day otherwise. You’d take it easy on the Christmas cookies, lay off the beer and get a jumpstart on your January diet. But times have changed now: you’re waking up at two in the afternoon, and by the time the coffee dries up, you’re holding a beer in the other hand. Not a bar beer, either. No, the beers you’re drinking are lukewarm cans that you don’t have to leave your couch to drink, and you will finish them by your lonesome. The only reason you’d even consider hitting the gym at a time like this is the fact that it might lead to you showering for the first time in three days.

“What are you doing for New Year’s Eve?” asks the person you’ve been seeing for the last several weeks. When you last discussed it, prior to going your separate ways for the holidays, you threw several ideas around. Now even the thought of going to a crowded bar makes you dizzy. You haven’t showered in three days; how are you going to get ready for a social event? Before dismaying any further, you take comfort in the fact that the dreariness of your conversation for the next few days will certainly extinguish whatever flame you carried with that person a week ago. You were a different person back then. You had a future; you had goals and dreams.

At last New Year’s Eve comes and goes, New Year's Day is spent on the couch with an existential dread the strength of which constitutes a thousand Sundays, and you return to reality. You grab your extra-large cup of coffee and return to your desk, counting down the days until retirement.

“When that rolls around you’ll use your free time better,” you convince yourself. “It’ll be different.”


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