The week between Christmas and New Year’s often feels like a strange sort of limbo. Some people are still on vacation, while others are forced into a brief stint back at work sandwiched between two mini-vacations; you might be subsisting entirely on leftover food for days on end; the presents you received are still brand new and exciting, perhaps still unused and not even put away yet. The holiday is over, but not entirely; by most accounts, it’s still the Christmas season, and people are still trying to squeeze as much enjoyment as possible out of it while they still can.
In Norway, this week is called Romjul. Sweden has a name for it too: mellandagarna, “between days” or “middle days”. But Romjul is a bit different, a bit special. It carries more significance than simply being a name for a week on the calendar; in fact, it’s a concept and a mindset not unlike hygge. Romjul is all about getting cozy, relaxing at home, and spending time with family and friends. As it turns out, I (and I suspect many other people) have been partaking in a number of Romjul rituals for years without even knowing it: things like spending the whole day in your pajamas, eating up Christmas leftovers, and enjoying relaxing activities with family and friends such as doing jigsaw puzzles and going for walks. Going back into society and the rest of the world can wait until the new year; Romjul isn’t the time for that.
One other facet of Romjul is mindfulness. It’s a time that can be used for meditation, or simply reflection, thinking back on the year that has passed and looking toward the new one that is about to start. For me, this is the time when resolutions come to mind, setting new ones and assessing my performance on old ones. This year, I’ve been considering this blog especially. I started Verbomania one year ago, intending for it to be a vehicle for my resolution to get more serious about writing in 2019. And it worked — I’ve written more in the past year than I have in any other year in recent memory, and keeping up with writing these posts has helped fuel my motivation to work on larger writing projects. But now, a year later, I think my resolution is due for a bit of revision.
I started Verbomania intending to write a new post every single week, thinking this would jump-start my sense of discipline when it came to getting writing done. And while this was effective, about halfway through the year I started to find that maybe it was too effective. Finishing posts on time became my biggest priority, and other projects and hobbies had to be pushed aside; there wasn’t much room for unexpected changes of plans during the week. Inevitably, I started to miss weeks here and there as the year went on, and realized that one post a week might have been too ambitious. I then decided to put out two posts a month without a specific schedule, thinking that this would take off some of the pressure and allow me to take additional time on posts that needed it, and take days off if I had other things to do.
But then a new problem arose: now that I was affording myself time to relax, I found myself being drawn to the other projects and hobbies I had been pushing aside, and twice a month I ended up having to rush to churn out a blog post anyway. Writing posts was beginning to feel like an obligation, something that was pulling me away from my other interests. The words I chose weren’t inspiring me as they had in the beginning; the writing was becoming forced and didn’t feel organic like I wanted it to. By December, I knew something had to change.
This year, I intend to devote more time to my other projects and hobbies, which means that less time will go toward this blog. I don’t intend to abandon Verbomania, of course — there are still so many more words out there! But I can see now that trying to force myself to stick to an update schedule is not as conducive to my productivity and motivation as I thought. In 2020, I would like to take a more laid-back approach to this blog, aiming to post once-a-month-ish, though if no new words inspire me in a particular month I won’t go out of my way to find one that does. Basically, when a word strikes me, a new post will come!
For the future of this blog, I have some new ideas as well. I may begin to branch out and explore other language-related topics in addition to interesting words, or incorporate personal stories and experiences related to the words I choose — time will tell. It’s a new year, a new decade, and anything is possible.
In the meantime, I want to thank everyone who has come along with me on this journey so far, who has supported me in my various writing endeavors. I hope you all stick around as Verbomania continues to grow, and come along with me on the sometimes weird and often wonderful journey through the words that we define, and that, in turn, define us.