Back in the working days or even back to school, the first Monday of a New Year was a chance to catch up on what everyone did over the Holidays. In many cases, co-workers or classmates were off that entire week, but I always felt that it was a good time to be in the office because there was often little going on. It was also usually a short week with days off or half-days, so it was a good time to get organized for the months to come. Besides, holiday travel was always a guaranteed hassle with flight delays due to overbooking and foul weather. Plus, pet sitting could get expensive.

People would return to the office or school with stories of family gatherings, special gifts, or elaborate New Year’s plans. A new outfit, watch, or other piece of jewelry was waiting for compliments. Pictures of new babies and pets were compared. There were always lots of leftover treats to share if you weren’t starting the traditional diet. Those that were wanted to get temptation out of the house. I was never much of a dieter because I maintained a regular exercise routine, but I did tend to cut back on alcohol consumption or pretend to maintain a dry January. 

Back in the days of going to the gym or fitness center, I quickly learned that the first couple weeks of a New Year were by far the busiest, as well-intended resolutions began to kick-in. The locker rooms were crowded, there was a line to use the weight equipment, and classrooms were crammed. You could tell from the number of cars in the parking lot that there were a lot of new members. By the third week of January, all was back to normal. I think that all this activity eventually discouraged me from going, when I could enjoy the quiet solitude of running outdoors. There are no membership fees, people in your way, hours of operation, or malfunctioning machines. All it takes to run is a good pair of shoes.

In the last six years of retirement, I’ve found that Mondays are just like every other day, even as good as weekends used to be. There is no alarm to set, but still a routine to follow. In our case, Mondays are a good day to see a movie, avoid eating meat, and get rid of all last week’s trash. Just like always, it’s the beginning of a fresh new start. 

Our schnauzer, Tally, is not a fan of “Meatless Monday,” missing those delicious smells coming from the kitchen and a chance that she’ll get a bite. She’s always in favor of me leaving the house so she has exclusive access to the office chair that we constantly fight over. She refuses to share. The only problem with a dog’s life is you’re never sure if your human will be gone for an hour or a month. As I’ve said many times, I wouldn’t mind reincarnation as a pup, as long as my wife is my keeper.