In The Bleak Midwinter

I hate January.
There it is.

I’ve fought it for years, thinking each time’s somehow different. Then every new post-holiday season, there it is. I bargain, I plead, I exercise, I sleep more, I sleep less, I stay busy, I lounge – and damnit, the result’s pretty much the same. The curse of the cold, gray, loooong month I try to brighten with snow decor and leftover Christmas lights. The “happy new year!” fervor dies down, and leaves this empty “what next?” feeling that’s hard to shake.

My love and I have birthdays right after new year’s, and we almost always celebrate with cough meds, kleenex & bed rest. It’s a long stretch from then until the END of the blasted month, when my mom’s and best friend’s (same!) birthdays signal the long-awaited hope that yes, Phil is stirring, and Candlemas – Groundhog Day – and finally THANK GOD Valentine’s Day – are on the way and March is not all that far behind. We coast into St. Pat’s, and cheer and toast a (not-so) new year that finally feels like it can really start.

By the way, if you live in a warmer climate or happen just to love January – good for you. I don’t hate winter. It really can be pretty and cozy if you do it right. But the shrunken, introspective nature of the season can make it even more of a challenge than usual to live in the now.

At the end of each year, I make a mini-ritual of transferring important dates from one calendar to the next. I make a hot drink and savor memories of those times as I look them over. This year I put it off for two weeks and man, did I spend the afternoon in an emotional muddle. But I’m glad finally to have it done. On to the next. To what? Not yet entirely sure. But that’s the way, isn’t it? We probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

But I still hate January. And miss the Nov-Dec glow. I try to recreate it in my own life and mind, but cannot. So, we’re stuck with stupid old January. I give, you cold long dark predictable jerk. Time for hot tea, piles of blankets, and another long winter’s nap. Take that, you stupid month.


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