I apologise for being ‘monthist’. But that 70’s song classic says it all – ‘January, sick and tired. You’ve been hanging on me.’ I mean, let’s face it, January is a bit of a ‘meh’ month, which goes on forever.
There’s nothing to look forward to unless you are a teetotal vegan who enjoys living on a shoestring until payday on the 98thof the month. Working days seem interminable. The weather is intolerable. And your credit card bill is inexcusable. It makes you question whether you really got your money’s worth out of the festive season and means ‘home entertainment’ is January’s buzz word.
In essence, for me, January is a ‘holding period’, where time stands still. Once the decorations come down, all household duties are suspended. After all, no one’s coming to visit in this Groundhog Day of a month. Besides, that’s the purpose of a ‘spring’ clean, isn’t it? So, cooking revolves around what’s left in the freezer. There are no hearty soups. Just gastronomic shocks when the Bolognese sauce turns out to be a defrosted vindaloo. And bad luck if you have a birthday in January – no one wants to go out. No party for you. You’ll have to make do with cake and wine at a work meeting. You see, this is a month that lacks leadership, although it promised so much. A new year. A new start. A new lie!
It turns out that the countless days of January reveal countless secrets. Illusions of the year gone by are shattered when you realise that all is not what it seemed. Some, too busy breaking rules and living it up, may have forgotten last year’s tribulations. But for others Omicron is still having an impact on their daily life. So, is freedom this year’s reality or simply a spin doctor’s wishful thinking? In the spirit of change, though, January has drawn a line under Covid. It’s swept it under the carpet, cheering us up instead with the threat of World War 3.
It’s claimed that January heralds the start of lighter nights. But, in reality, one endless dark day rolls into another. Post-pandemic liberation might beckon, but who can be bothered to make the effort? Far easier to save on the laundry, slip into those ever-tightening, wear-all-month jogging bottoms and veg out in front of the TV.
Traditionally it’s the time for New Year’s resolutions. But honestly, what’s the point? Those January gym bunnies rarely make it past the second week. And those that do, spend more time huddling together in the sauna than working out with the weights. And why make sacrifices if you are the only one doing it?
As the month drags on, dragging me down, I wonder why we even bother with January. But without the darkness there is no light. If I can survive January, then the coming months can only be an improvement. January shows me the shadow side of the year. It shows me how I don’t want to live my life. It pushes me towards brighter times ahead, making me long for transparency, integrity and optimism.
Then, just as January threatens to pull me under, there is a glimpse of hope on the horizon. Money is at last deposited in my bank account. The freezer, now empty, can be restocked. A lone crocus nods its purple head in my direction.
I wake up one morning and a shard of blue has broken through the oppressive grey skies. Thank goodness. February has finally arrived!