Here we are at the start of the year, just resting up before we launch ourselves, aboard a giant sledge full of good intentions, into 2013.
The interlude between Christmas and New Year's Eve is a no-man's land. We're done with the present year, and can hardly be bothered to glance at our calendar to see what. if anything, is scheduled for the few days that remain to it.
Still, it's a good thing that we have the tail-end of 2012 in which to finish up the odds and ends that we somehow never got around to yet.
I don't advocate making any big, sweeping changes, or starting some big new project now. No, all of that is best left for the coming year. We might want to think about these things a little, but at this point what we need to be concerned about is making sure that we have fully recuperated from the rigors of the Christmas season.
For many people, the word "Christmas" has taken on a baffling connotation. They know that Christmas is intrinsically good, and yet to say "Merry Christmas" is somehow suspect. Why? Do we think that people who do not celebrate Christmas are sad, and shouldn't have to be reminded of the great Christian holiday? Perhaps euphemistically saying "Happy holidays" instead is a safer way to go. People say "holidays" when they mean Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, when I went to the post office, I observed that some people were actually saying "Merry Christmas," but rather sheepishly, as if they might be doing something wrong, or else aggressively, as if to make a statement.
"Yes, gosh darn it! I said 'Christmas,' and I'll say it again, if I feel like it, so watch out!"
Of course, it's fine to say holidays, if that's what you mean. But Christmas is the elephant in the room. For those who celebrate it, Christmas is anxiety producing, exhausting, financially depleting and often inspiring and joyous, reminding us of who we can be at our best.
We need to rest up now.
One thing we might want to attempt during this interlude, after gathering up and disposing of the tissue paper and packing peanuts - don't save them this year - is to finish off the chocolates, nuts, cookies and other foods that will interfere with the diets we will be working on during the first part of January.
Yes, the annual weight-loss diet is always on the list for the New Year, but I have just heard two pieces of information that bear consideration.
First, I watched a TV interview on MSNBC in which Richard Lucibella, publisher of S.W.A.T. magazine, detailed a list of firearms that he requires for everyday self defense. Then I listened to Wayne LaPierre speak on behalf of the NRA about guns and self-defense. This has all been a real eye-opener for me.
It's funny, too, because even though my husband owned guns, it never occurred to me that I needed guns for self protection. In fact, I am afraid of them. I hate firecrackers. I don't even like popping champagne corks, but I can muster up the courage for it if I have to.
Now I learn that a single woman requires a bedside Glock, a shotgun, a rifle, a concealed firearm, a gun in a hip holster...well, it makes you think. You just never know when you might need the ability to maim or kill somebody. It changes your view of the world. After my Christmas world view, it will take some doing to shift my focus to self-defense. It's kind of like living in an Elmore Leonard novel. I love Elmore Leonard novels, but I want to be able to put them down. I like to know the difference between, say, "Get Shorty" and my normal everyday life.
And now here's the second piece of information that will complicate - or maybe simplify - your New Year's resolutions. I have just learned, from an article in the January "Good Housekeeping" magazine (not S.W.A.T.), that human beings have limited reservoirs of will power. This means that if you are in the difficult and restrictive first part of a major diet plan, you will have little or no will power left for your other resolutions. This answers that age-old question: Why is it so hard to be good?
Choices. Should I resolve to arm myself for 2013? Or should I try again to lose weight?
Have a good week.