The First Week of January Test, 2013 Version

So how does it feel?

How does it feel to be back in the saddle after the holidays?

You can think of the way in which this first Monday of the working year hits you as being akin to what happens at the Large Haldron Collider when particles racing close to the speed of light do their colliding and stop moving quite so fast and on quite so straight-ahead a trajectory.

That is, if you’re like many folks, then after running around and around and around, working hard hard hard throughout all of 2012, then somewhere around Friday 12/21/12 you found yourself having some time to relax at least a bit (hopefully . . . ) and were maybe even able to settle into a leisurely couple-a weeks of being with loved ones and doing only fun things (which very well might have included spending money more easily and in greater quantity than at any other time of year, and maybe even some generalized lolling about). And then WHAM! It’s Monday 1/7/13 and now you’re back in the saddle.

Fast-moving particle collides with non-moving object.

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I’ve been asking the questions that open up this piece for years now, right around this time of year, as part of a thought exercise I call The First Week of January Test (to see previous year postings about The Test, please see this nice clean search results page, with only hockey players and Meg Whitman, surely a loutish and scary coupling if ever there was, currently cluttering up the search results with false positives).

So why? Why do I ask these questions, and why now?

I do so because asking these questions is the best way I’ve found to help people gauge their non-numeric financial heath — because at no other time of the year is there a so perfectly-jarring and highly-illuminating boundary event as the day when, after the long holiday season, you come back into your normal day-to-day, whether that’s at work or driving the kids around or playing golf or watching soap operas or doing good or doing bad or cruising the ocean aboard a luxury liner or convalescing inside a skilled nursing facility or whatever other thing your day-to-day might be, and because your day-to-day has a whole lot to do with both your numeric and your non-numeric financial health, with the one informing the other, two-sides-of-the-same-coin like (and not a trillion-dollar platinum coin, either).

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So how does it feel? How does it feel to be back?

Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to write down a paragraph or two or more about what you are feeling right now. Name that file with the date and do this every first week of January for the rest of your life. Read the series from time to time. Is it getting better all the time? That is the goal.

And look for a follow-up piece in the days ahead, in which I’ll further lay out the case for non-numeric financial health, and set out, at long last, the definition of non-numeric financial health I’ve been working on for years and years and years and years.

Hint: all things being equal, the more silky smooth your haldron-colliding event this week, the stronger your non-numeric financial health. Please stay tuned.



About 500 words (less than a five-minute read, sans linked-to content)



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  1. Posted by Mary Donovan on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 2pm
    Hi John--every year I read this post for you and every year I don't write anything. this year I will -- maybe because I don't know what I'll write until I write it.

    Thanks for doing this.