Between the years

The German phrase “zwischen den Jahren” (“between the years”) refers to the days between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I am always finding myself in a weird state of mind during this time. Not bad, by any means, just weird because the old year is not quite done (but the holidays are behind us) and the new year is not quite here. It’s a time to slow down, reflect, and look ahead.

We had a quiet week. Much quieter than anticipated. I had mentioned that Jon’s Mom was supposed to join us for a few days — but then on Christmas Day, all went south, and she ended up not visiting after all. She was supposed to arrive in the late afternoon but her travel plans fell through because of the whole Southwest Airlines debacle (which I am sure everybody has heard of by now. Hopefully just “heard of” and not been affected by!).

I had already prepared most of the dinner, the table was set and Jon was getting ready to pick her up from the airport when we learned that her flight was first delayed (three times, mind you) and then canceled. Since she was traveling from a small, local airport, there weren’t any options for rebooking, so her trip was canceled altogether and Jon and I spent Christmas by ourselves after all.

We still made the best of it (Christmas recap forthcoming!) and I must admit, as bummed as we were about the changed plans, I very much enjoyed having the whole week to myself to wind down.

I did not write or read blog posts although it’s been on my mind (and I promise, I will catch up on your blogs, and regular blogging will resume here shortly) but for some strange reason, I didn’t spend as much time on my computer as I usually do. Instead, I ran, I cycled, I did yoga (well, as usual) but I also read a lot, watched Netflix, knitted, took naps, and I started building my Friends-Apartments Lego Set (which I actually got for Christmas last year. I know!), which I am very excited about.

I don’t know about you, but this week ‘between the years’ is a rare time when I don’t feel any pressure to do all the things. I don’t feel “guilty” just hanging out and taking each day as it comes. When is that usually possible? I hope you had a lovely holiday and also some time to relax and unwind.

How have you been spending your time this week?

  1. I love this phrasing: between the years. So true and it captures the magic – and slight melancholy? – that this time of year.

    I’m so sorry about Jon’s mother. What a huge debacle and so sad for so, so many families who weren’t able to be together over Christmas. But it sounds like you’ve had a nice holiday – relaxing and restorative. Hooray <3

    I've tried my best to relax; we're still battling some illness in our house that has been going on for a long time, but the silver lining meant a few of our plans were canceled. With kids at home, this time is not always as restful as I'd like; they're starting to go stir-crazy from being off school + being sick, but it has also been a nice time, too. We've lounged in PJs several days and just yesterday my sister, her husband, and their teenage son arrived for a 3-day visit. While I find overnight company exhausting, Day 1 was lovely! We sat around the table and talked after each meal, I went on a long run with my sister, we exchanged small gifts, my nephew played with my son for HOURS. So it's an unusual way for us to ring in the New Year (we're usually home alone), but it's a nice change of pace.

    That said – SCHOOL STARTS next Tuesday and I am SO, SO ready!!!

  2. I didn’t read or write blog posts this week either! I have had a very restful week which apparently I needed.
    I’m sorry to hear about Jon’s mom. My goodness, but was travel fraught this year. So many of my friends were affected and I’m sorry to hear that you were one of them.

  3. I have to admit that I’ve been in a blogging lull since NaBloPo, but I also think that’s to be expected. I think it relates well to running where you put in a hard effort and then take some downtime to recover.

    I love zwischen den Jahren! Not that I ever heard of it before this post, but it makes so much sense to tag the last week of the year as downtime.

  4. What a frustrating disappointment that your mother-in-law wasn’t able to join you! This Southwest mess has been so awful and I’m so sorry it affected you.

    This week has been wonderful. I have felt zero pressure to do anything besides relax. I love the idea of “between the years,” and using it as a time of reflection and looking forward is such a lovely way to spend it.

    Happy New Year, San!

  5. I was just thinking about this magic in between the years and wondered if there is an English saying. And also I wondered if I should try to capture the magic if this timeless time. Ahhh. maybe next year. We’ll see.

    I am sorry the visit from Jons mom was not possible but glad you made the most of the time and just enjoyed yourself.

  6. Oh my gosh, can I just be you for a minute? This week sounds SO NICE!! My week ended up being really great, but “relaxing”, not so much. We are not generally the most social people, in terms of getting together with others, but it just turned out that this week we went to see people on Monday, went out Wednesday to a special dinner, had our old neighbors over on Thursday, and then met up with a very very old friend last night! I was really craving some more down time- your week sounds perfect, honestly. I had to work most of the week too which was annoying. All these other plans had to fit in around that, of course. I do wish I had the whole week between Christmas and new years off, but I’d have to use vacation days and I’m not willing to sacrifice my days – it would take away from other time off that I want to use for travels!

  7. I was listening to a podcast with two Brits who called it “betwixt years” and I thought that was utterly charming. We had very lazy days with lots of kitty cuddles and hikes with the dog. I am not looking forward to reentry into the “real world” next week!

  8. I am glad you are leaning into the feeling of not having to do anything! It is hard to feel that way at other times of year. But what a bummer about your MIL’s cancelled travel plans! I was so glad my sister’s flight wasn’t impacted. They hadn’t been home for 6 years, I think. They arrived just before a horrible storm and terrible cold snap so they lucked out! I didn’t get to see her – I thought I might see her for a bit when they landed but I told her to hit the road since a bad storm was starting. But I will see her this spring hopefully.

    I didn’t have much official time off this week but it was very quiet at work so it felt like I had time off. I did take Thursday off since I had multiple dr appts and knew I would need a steroid injection which really lays me up. We have tomorrow off since the markets are closed but the kids have school so we are pretty thrilled about that!!! We’ve had a lot of family time together so am looking forward to a kid free day. Although Phil is debating working part of the day to get ahead as the first 4 biz days are always super busy for him.

  9. I love Google Translate because I type in the German phrases you teach me so that I know how to pronounce them. Apparently, I have a TERRIBLE American accent when I speak German, to the point where it inspires near-rolling-on-the-floor-laughing levels of mirth.

    My husband and I got caught up in the Southwest debacle, but had a very easy go of it since we were doing intra-California travel so there were a fair number of alternate options.

    Also, we just moved and I was thinking of selling my Peloton. I know, what insanity overcame me!? I still have it though. I really love the workouts and when I worked out in the complex gym last night, there was a guy totally BO’ing the place so I’m glad I have an alternate cardio in my nice smelling apartment.

  10. We had a very quiet time, too. For a couple of days I made two dinners to bring one over to friends who got hit by covid really hard but they are finally on the mend. The only thing we did was an outing to the De Young museum yesterday of all days. When we saw the pictures of flooding in San Francisco after getting home we sure were glad to be back home safe and sound. I even made it to the gym a couple of times. It was really time I started moving again.

  11. So sorry MIL didn’t make it for Christmas, or at all.
    I felt kinda the same during the week inbetween the years….. As you know, I’m not a big new years party girl and therefore I could’ve jumped into the new year right after taking down the Christmas tree on the 27th.
    The countdown is on – 53 more days friend :)

  12. Ugh, I am so sorry to hear that your MIL’s flight got canceled and she couldn’t be with you guys on Christmas. I have to imagine so many families went through this debacle this holiday season – what a mess it was.

    I usually take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off but I worked a few days and it was SO quiet and lovely. It actually didn’t feel terrible to be working because my inbox and Slack messages were so quiet.

  13. We are usually away from home on holidays at this time of year, which is good, I think. I love that phrasing, though, because it does feel like the previous year has ended, as we tend to get everything tidied off before Christmas, but it’s not yet the New Year.

    IIts a shame your Christmas plans where thrown into disarray, but glad still made sure to make the most of the day.

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