I'm not the kind of guy who is so disciplined that he works throughout the winter holidays. I'm a unapologetic slacker at heart. Despite that, I do half-heartedly keep my nose pressed to the grindstone from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. Though I am only able to do that to the extent I have a client or clients doing the same.
As a freelancer, I can only make money when a client issues marching orders. No assignments, no work. It's a fairly elementary system. I can almost count on at least one client also working from Turkey to Yule Log; although often at a reduced pace. From Christmas until January 2, however, I always find myself adrift in a forced vacation. I suspect if I were on salary with these same clients, they would find a way to keep me busy. But, because I'm contract labor, my clients only pay me for what I produce. No assignments, no production, no money. It's a lose, lose, win (for them).
This in and of itself isn't traumatizing. I know this will be the case. I mentally and fiscally prepare for the lost 10 days from Christmas Eve to January 2. In fact, historically there are a couple of other times during the year when I alert clients that I will be unavailable for assignments because of short vacations. These down times are just part of freelancing.
No deadlines to meet between Christmas and Jan. 2, only exacerbates for me the disorientation rampant everywhere during that period that has most people I know feeling untethered to the realities of time. I also deal with not being at home, which totally disrupts my daily routines like going to the gym. Over the course of my Christmas stay in New Mexico, I crash in two different households, sleeping in two different beds. “Where am I?” and “What day is it?” are questions I have to ask myself every morning upon awaking. It's like every day I stumble out of a long-term coma with no grasp on my place in time nor space. I have nothing to do and nowhere to do it.
I'm of the mind that we should petition the government to reduce the number of weekends each year from 52 to 51. After all, what's the point of the weekend sandwiched in somewhere between Christmas and Jan 2? Throughout the rest of the year weekends are treated as mini holidays, right? What's the point of a mini holiday in the middle of another holiday? What the hell are you supposed to do with the weekend that always falls somewhere between Christmas and Jan. 2? Do you go out? Do you stay home because you are going out on New Year's Eve? What's appropriate. I find myself adrift in a sea of uncertainty. I don't know. I think a government that was stupid enough to come up with Daylight Savings Time could be easily convinced to do away with that post-Christmas/pre New Years weekend.
With all of that said, I am back home this Sunday before New Year's Eve, contemplating the rest of my weekend. I will head to my usual Sunday beer-drinking spot where I will hook up with my buddy Big Jon for a pint or two. A little dose of normalcy in the heart of this holiday, well, holiday. At least I think it's Sunday.
And, here's to a great and prosperous New Year for you and yours!