The best day of the year is coming up fast.
That’s the winter solstice — December 21 — the best day of the year, because from here on (for the next six months) the total hours of daylight start increasing each day.
And up here in the great white North, that’s something we really look forward to, especially after a year of pandemic and seemingly relentless natural disasters.
It’s not just more daylight that I’m looking forward to. One of the best things about being self-employed is that I have a lot of control over my boss’s decisions regarding when I can book time off work. Round about the winter solstice every year, I wrap up until January. Happily, most of my clients seem to do the same.
With the pandemic, there hasn’t seemed like much reason to take time off work in the last two years. Travelling is a conglomeration of frightening exposures and ever-changing bureaucratic hurdles, and most of the cultural events I’d normally enjoy have shifted to safer online delivery.
As Adam Grant wrote in the New York Times, languishing in the blahs has been the dominant emotion of 2021. And so with the solstice in sight, rebellion has struck, and I’m calling a holiday break from all the stagnation and emptiness.
We are (gasp) travelling. We will be treating ourselves to a weekend where someone else cooks, does the dishes, and washes the linen. We will be eating and drinking according to traditional standards for holiday extravagance. We will be sleeping in and taking long, leisurely walks along the ocean-side path. After watching the waves crash on the beach, we’ll come back indoors to warm up by a crackling fire.
There may be some sad moments, thoughts of people who are no longer there to visit, time that has passed which can never be relived. But there is a new baby celebrating a first Christmas, and time to look forward to with all those who have survived. And on Dec. 22, there will be a few minutes more daylight compared to the previous day.
Before the disapproval sets in, relax; we aren’t travelling far, or with disregard for reality. We’ll only venture 100 or so miles from home, and only visit with the very closest of family. Since one of those family members is 91 years old (and has had a booster vaccine already) we’ll be taking care to limit other exposures. We’ll only be visiting establishments that require government-issued proof of vaccination for entry. We’ll be masked pretty much all the time.
In short, we’re committed to making it as hard as possible for Omicron to gain a foothold, even as we indulge ourselves.
Lots of unknowns lie ahead in January. For now, I’m going to focus on more daylight, and hope for the best. And in the meantime, please pass the shortbread.