Another Christmas has been and gone, as hectic and uneventful as all those which proceeded it, the distraction of planning where to go on New Years Eve has passed, (we went to Thekla, and a fun, if slightly messy time was had by all) and here we are again, edging slowly, gloomily, through January. In an attempt to explain the conundrum I refer to as ‘The January Blues’ I will relay to you a misery inspiring top five of the mirthless topics of conversation I have been dragged into so far this week.
1. The weather. Numerous accounts of what terrible, cold, grey weather we are having has passed between myself, people at work, people on the bus, people in the newsagents where I buy my cigarettes (another resolution broken already), in fact between myself and people anywhere that warrants small talk. We English really do need something new to discuss.
2. Ahem, the weather. Again. An extension of point one really. The discussion of the terrible weather inevitably leads on to the discussion of the lack of sunlight, of useable hours in the day, and to getting up in the dark, and returning home in the dark. This leads to the assertion that you, I and everyone I speak to suspects they may in fact have that January specific illness, Seasonal Affective Disorder, complete with glib acronym, SAD.
3. Money. The amount of debt everyone has accumulated over the merry Christmas present buying period, which at the time of accumulation presented the dream of happy smiling faces Christmas morning, but that now looks totally different in the grey light of January. ‘Its not as if Christmas was that special anyway’. Every year.
4. Sickness. Everyone has either a cold, or more often (at least as they tell it) flu. People are ill. People have no energy. If you aren’t ill yet, you’re paranoid that you may get ill. There is no time for illness in January. You need to work all the hours you can to pay off all that Christmas debt after all. This leads to you sitting on the jam- packed bus on the way to work, next to some bloke coughing his guts up, covering your mouth with your jumper sleeve and praying you don’t inhale any of his germs.
5. Vital Statistics. The other conversations I have been begrudgingly involved in are those ‘informative’ ones, where someone has picked up apparently factual statistics, collated by no-one knows who, worked out for who knows what reason, and obtained, no-one knows where. Statistics this week have included; ‘did you know today is statistically the most depressing day of the year?’ ‘Did you know that statistically the most suicides occur on this date every year?’ ‘Did you know that most couples break up on this date every year? Really. And all in January. It’s apparently a very unlucky month.
So why must we be so morose about life at the start of every New Year? We need to fight back, slap January around its miserable grey face and think of all the positive aspects that this time of year can offer us. Right, having wracked my brains for at least five minutes, here are some positive things about January…
1. January sales. Although it is disturbingly hectic in town, and I had to practically physically fight for it in Debenhams, I picked up a beautiful new coat for a tenner! Also, although you know you probably won’t even attempt all that health and fitness related stuff you resolved to do, you can always ease you conscience the easy way and buy vitamins, which are also half price.
2. A clean slate. January is the best excuse to forget/ignore all the stupid and shameful things you did in the previous year. That bumbling, far from eloquent mess you personified last year has no bearing on the ‘new’ you. You have turned over a new leaf, and you can declare it to people. They might even believe you. You may even believe yourself.
3. Laziness. There are undeniably far fewer daylight hours, and baby it’s cold outside. So stay in. You have to wear bulky clothes, so you may as well eat as much junk as you like; no one is going to know (until summer) and the darkness means you can have lovely long lye-ins without the sun interrupting your slumber in the morning. Animals stock up on food and hibernate in the winter, and if nature dictates it, who are we to argue? You’re not wasting the day, after all, its only five hours long.
4. Being Grumpy. Even saints get bloody grumpy for no discernable reason sometimes. Those days where you just want to moan, put the world to rights, be arsy to clients at work, tell salespeople what you really think of them, start an argument with someone for the hell of it. Well, January is the best excuse in the world. Blame it on SAD. It’s a real illness. People may even feel sorry for you if you’re lucky.
So if you think about it, maybe January isn’t all that bad after all. It just depends on how you look at it, and while I have been writing this it has actually started to snow! Given the fact that it has up until now been raining all day, it probably wont stick, but looking out of my window Bristol really does look very beautiful, and snow, no matter what your age never fails to cheer people up. There are in fact lots of faces doing exactly what I am and looking out of their windows at the weather, and I just got a nod of mutual snow appreciation from a very cute bloke in a suit from the office window opposite. Hmm, could be the start of some beautiful January romance, after all, he’s probably single, it was ‘officially’ break up day at some point last week…