Inez Castor

There's something peaceful about the week between Christmas and New Year. Win, lose or draw, we did the best we could to fulfill dreams. The new year doesn't really start until next Monday, and so we have this lovely little break.

If you're still in the workforce, I hope you can take vacation now. And if you're among those heroic folks who fight fires, treat wounds, and prevent the drunks from hurting each other or the rest of us, may your shifts be short and peaceful.

If possible, take naps, drink lots of water, wander around your neighborhood or the beach. It's a good time to forgive yourself and anyone else for hurt feelings during the year. There really isn't anything else that absolutely must be done this week, beyond disposing of anything that smells bad.

My last job was in an office open Monday through Thursday. Between

legal holidays and weekends, I could work it so that by using only a few

vacation days I was free from before Christmas until after New Years.

That lump of free time was a real life saver. It was the carrot on the

stick in November and permitted me to start the new work year full of

energy and enthusiasm.

This is a good time to close out the personal charts you use all year

and evaluate the possible need for new ones. In my mid-40s I realized

that many people could remain independent much later in life by the

simple expedient of keeping a running written account of important


If you habitually jot down the pill you take, as you take it, in a

notebook kept with the medicine, you won't accidentally OD and end up

trying to defend yourself while your children insist you need care. The

time to form these life and independence-saving habits is while you're

still young enough that your brain hasn't melted and run down your leg.

Keep track of drinking water and exercise so you know you're getting

enough of both, and note the day's activities on a calendar. I live

alone and am a bit compulsive, so keep several calendars. They're often

free and indicate I do more than I give myself credit for.

Perhaps it simply gives me the illusion of control, but it keeps my

days from running together. A glance at a calendar reminds me that I

hiked in the harbor last Monday, put four miles on my exercycle and

stopped by the convalescent hospital.

The sand of days slips away through the classic hourglass of time,

and it's nice to recognize and honor their individuality. If the

paperwork's ready, you'll start the year without feeling rushed and out

of control already.

So take it easy this week. You deserve it and you need it. It is,

after all, the season for short hibernations, long naps, good books and


Reach Inez Castor, a longtime Triplicate columnist, at