In the animal world, December is a time for slowing down, for setting aside the daily routine of survival in order to find warmth and safety during nature’s least forgiving time of year. It’s a self-preservation move. And when the animals emerge from their dens and boroughs, they are embraced by spring and inspired to bring new life into the world. It’s a beautiful thing.
For people, however, December is ridiculous. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, we spend inordinate amounts of time shopping, eating, drinking, attending parties, shopping, cooking, wrapping, attending parties, shopping, attending family gatherings, eating and drinking. It’s prime time. It’s nonstop.
People who know me know that I lead a fairly active lifestyle. I like to be out and about, socializing and going places. So for me, December is awesome. The whole month is nothing but a giant opportunity to fill every night of your calendar. And if there isn’t an event, there’s certainly some shopping, cooking or other preparation that needs to be done ahead of a future event. Never a dull moment.
This month alone, I’ve got a handful of networking events, three friends’ holiday parties, two work holiday parties, a couple performances to attend, some possible trivia nights, various one-off social engagements with friends, a 5K and a few holiday gift and craft fairs. Not to mention all the shopping and card-writing I haven’t done yet (ahem).
While I get really excited at the thought of all the awesome events that I have to look forward to, I tend to forget two things. One, I usually don’t know that I’ve taken on too much until it’s really, really apparent that I’ve taken on too much. I am sure that sandwiched in between shopping and parties, there will have to be a few evenings or full weekend days of utter sloth-like behavior, simply to recharge. I never usually anticipate this ahead of time, so perhaps I’m ahead of the game this year.
Secondly, there’s the matter of January. I had always looked forward to January as a hibernation of sorts — after the crazy, jowl-stuffing frenzy of December, we’d always have the promise of a cold, quiet January, where it’s totally okay to go home every night and stay in every weekend, hiding from the cold and restoring energy after a draining series of weeks. A human hibernation, of sorts.
But somewhere along the way, the sanctity of that quiet January began to slip away. I have begun realizing it over the past few years, where my calendar fills up in January comparable to other months on the calendar. Not to an exhausting degree, but certainly fuller than I remember in years past. I don’t mind, necessarily, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss it a little bit.
This is a rough time of year for a lot of people, and in the past it has gotten to me at times. But right now, I feel like I’m in a place to embrace the crazy and dive right in. There’s a lot to be gained — and a lot to be given, to be sure, not just in terms of money but also time and energy. But it’s just one month, right? The key, for me, is to pace myself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. See you at the finish line — if not at a party along the way.