January is usually a moment to restart, where we try to settle into the vibe of the new year. But this January, it feels like we’re in limbo. Maybe that’s not much of a surprise; the month, after all, is named for the Roman god Janus, the god of transitions. He presides over doorways and other transitory spaces, and is often depicted with two faces. One face looks towards what has been left behind; the other faces what is just ahead. What’s missing in most depictions is the space between the past and the future: the liminal period.
This January is that liminal period, the in-between of the past year and the future year, between who we have been and who we could be — as individuals and as a collective. It’s a disconcerting time to occupy, where there’s no beginning and seemingly, no end. We’re stuck, waiting for things to come to fruition. The COVID vaccine exists but its distribution is slow. We’re in between presidents, with limited knowledge of what the current president is even thinking because he’s been banned by every major social platform. This waiting period is not entirely unfamiliar, though; the culture hasn’t had true beginnings or ends for some time and the 2020 quarantine was essentially one long liminal moment.