Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 3:41 am | Fair 56º


Tim Durnin: The After-Christmas Letdown and the Welcoming of a New Year

Christmas is over, and I am sitting in the doldrums of the week separating it from New Year’s celebrations.

My living room is still scattered with cardboard boxes, torn paper and packaging. Unwrapped presents have been pushed haphazardly under the now obsolete Christmas tree. The contents of stockings are spilled across the fireplace. This is not a Norman Rockwell moment.

The week after Christmas provides an interesting mix of letdown, nostalgia and hope. The excitement of Christmas Day has passed. The past year dwindles its final hours away in reflection. All the while, the prospect of new beginnings looms brightly on the horizon. It is a week I both embrace and eschew.

I embrace it because it is the one time of year when the whole world slows down enough to make sense. The insanity of Christmas shopping and preparations are done. Schools are closed, and many folks take the week off. There are fewer cars on the road, less rushing about. It is the world unfolding at the pace I want to live. For one glorious week I can keep up.

I embrace it because in spite of the tawdry distractions and commercialization, the holidays are still about friends and family. I revel in board games and movies, roaring fireplaces and decadent food. I like that for a week the rules for calories and counting change. It is my favorite time to cook.

I eschew it because I am forced to look both forward and back. I reflect on a past diminishing in the rear-view mirror with no u-turns permitted. I look forward with sincere and best intentions for a better me, a better tomorrow. Twenty years ago, my vision to the future was clear. In middle age, my ultimate destination is less so. Cleaning the window while steering the car has proven challenging.

Regardless of my feelings at one particular moment, I know the week will unfold as it should. It will unfold with family, friends and football. Waves of nostalgia will wash in and out. Regrets will stay with me like the wind, gentle breezes of guilt and remorse. Hope will rise and fall and rise again and, as the new year is chimed in, hope will reign.

I suppose that is the best I can ask for or ever really want. How blessed I have been and remain so to begin each year of my life with hope.

— Tim Durnin is an independent consultant for nonprofit organizations, schools and small business. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here to read his previous columns.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >