I'm sad to admit that January is a fakeout for me. It's a false start.
According to science, the calendar is on the upswing. The days are officially getting longer.
Simultaneously, though, it still looks pretty dang dark all the time and today, for example, it is negative zero thousand degrees in Philadelphia. And sunny!
I can't express the extent of the bummer I feel when sunny becomes irrelevant.
In high school world, at least for me, January is a month of paradoxical discomfort.
See, the school calendar and the universe calendar reach an unpleasant discord around this time of year.
The universe is saying things like: Holidays! Happy new year! Resolutions! Freshness! Rejuvenation!
And the school calendar is all: Siiiiiiiiike.
The Fall semester does not officially end until January 20-something. This means that for students, teachers, and all of the humans that have to deal with us, the holiday break is filled with catching up on past work and keeping up with current work. It means that when we come back to a new year, we're coming back to the same stuff, the leftovers and the loose ends. Instead of feeling rejuvenated by fresh starts and crisp ideas, we're feeling restless and oh-so-ready-to-be-done.
I'm lucky to be in a high school world where this feeling is minimized by the tremendous attitudes of everyone around me. There's a general understanding that we're all in this, powering through this part, and isn't it nice to be kind and smile as much as possible?
This isn't something that just helps. It is the thing.
I was telling my 12th graders that these January blues get solved for them next time. A year from now, they'll experience the hustle that is college finals in December, followed by a long break that feels like exactly that. When they return, it will be to something new, which will align with the universe very pleasantly.
I'm looking forward to the freshness part, which is only a few weeks away. I'm excited to experience EduCon from the other side this time. (Why haven't you signed up yet?) It's been fun to hammer out the details of the spring semester. I've been making lots of lists for things that are on hold.
Did you listen to this episode about buttons? (Do it.)
I'm currently dreaming of the reset button.
Image: Saul Steinberg's Last Self-Portrait