How I’m spending Dead Week
The end times fun between Christmas and New Year's Eve
For years, I have dreaded the weird no man’s land between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Because I set my own hours around here, I never know what I should be doing. Should I be working? Should I rest? Should I do both?
I was delighted when Meg sent me’s piece, “All Hail Dead Week, the Best Week of the Year.” Finally, a term I can use. “Dead Week!”
Fitzgerald says instead of dreading Dead Week, she looks forward to it all year long. She frames Dead Week as a “nothing time” in which nobody really expects that much of you and nothing you do matters that much.
Dead Week… is a week off from the forward-motion drive of the rest of the year. It is a time against ambition and against striving. Whatever we hoped to finish is either finished or it’s not going to happen this week, and all our successes and failures from the previous year are already tallied up. It’s too late for everything; Dead Week is the luxurious relief of giving up.
What I’m doing with Dead Week is not giving up, but letting go of the year.
Dead Week for me this year is one of pausing (even though, uh, I’m still writing this newsletter, I guess), looking back, and relaxing.
Here are three things I plan on doing…
Re-reading my notebooks
This is a form of comfort work. It reminds me how long a year is and how much I’ve done and how much I haven’t done.
I’m currently re-reading all my handwritten diaries, which this year filled up about four whole notebooks, so about, oh, 800 pages or so. (It sounds like a lot, but if you fill two pages a day, by the end of the year you’ve got 730 pages by default.) I’ve almost made it to spring. (Here’s more on the importance of revisiting notebooks.)
When I’m re-reading, I open up a file in my Notes app on my iPhone and type memorable things in there. (I use this later to write my year-end list.)
This easily takes up most of the week, actually, and I’ll be lucky to get it all in.
One random Sunday afternoon, on a whim, I ran a hot bath and read the end of Station Eleven. It was one of the most pleasant hours of my whole year and I plan on trying to recreate it as often as possible this winter.
For Christmas, Meg got me one of these covers for the overflow drain, and for $7, it makes the tub way more comfortable. You can get that water nice and high and really soak.
I read paperbacks in the pool all the time, so I’m used to getting my books wet, but I also love my (waterproof) Kindle Paperwhite.
If you’re feeling freaked out or stressed, try a hot bath!
Eating junk and watching rubbish
Now that “William Blake” has left the building, I’m catching up after my week of living on nothing but basically water and Gatorade. Christmas cookies, tacos, you name it.
As for the watching rubbish, no holiday movie really touched me this year, but we watched Gremlins the other night, and buddy, I was ROOTING for those Gremlins. You go, Gremlins! Tear up this boring town! Let’s eat candy and watch Snow White and go nuts.
Okay, time to get back to it. Let me know what you’re doing with your Dead Week in the comments! No wrong answers! And if you have some rubbish you think I should watch, let me know.