How is it possible that it is only the 12th January? It feels like every January day lasts the equivalent of three days of any other month of the year. It labours on, dragging its schoolbag and scuffing its toes, rolling its eyes and scowling.
It is not helped by the new beginnings and health kicks that millions of us embark upon as soon as the sun comes up on New Years Day. If we were cavemen (woman/people/whatevs), we would be using January to keep warm, conserve fat and generally hunker down until life becomes a bit more bearable. January in the modern age is the exact opposite, and there are many reasons for it to be the most hated bully in the calendar playground.
- Dry January. Seriously, who invented this? Of all the days that little glass of red is needed to take the edge off, the gloomy 31 at the start of each year are the most obvious. I have embarked on this for the past three years and only achieved it once so far. This year ended after a record one week! All power to those of you who stick it out but I am happy with my edited version of ‘not on a school night’. *
- Spiralizers. Let it be known that I have not eaten, and never will eat, spaghetti made out of a courgette. No matter how much you preach at me with evangelical zeal, waving a Lakeland catalogue in my face as you list the virtues of the versatility of vegetabletini. I want carbs.
- Nutribullets. Several times over the past couple of months I have found myself browsing the shopping pages for a Nutribullet. Why? Because of peer pressure from the juicing brigade. It is January, I feel that it is my duty to carry a cup of kaley green sludge to the office with me. It will make my hair shiny and my skin glow. I will become thin and fit. OR, I will be £100 odd pounds poorer and after two weeks will have to find space in the cupboard for yet another redundant gadget. This one could go either way, my finger is still hovering over the ‘add to cart’ button…
- Resolutions. The list to end all lists. The list that contains 95% recycled points from every year that has gone before. The list that can only lead to self-flagellation, despair, reproach and depression. The warm glow generated by writing down all the changes you plan to make is soon cancelled out by the realization that you haven’t actually achieved any of them.
- Money. Or lack of it. Since January often starts with a deficit (even my most carefully budgeted Christmases go awry at the last minute when the panic sets in) it can only go downhill. There really is nothing but bad news on the bank statement and, when you think it must be nearly payday, a glance at the calendar tells you there are still two weeks to go. There is a silver lining though, a proper cast iron excuse not to buy that nutribullet.
As I’m writing I realise that I could go on and on – celebrity fitness DVDs, grey and drying skin, rubbish weather and days where the sun never seems to rise before it sinks. So I think I’ll make like a Neanderthal. Snuggle down, carb up, put my fingers in my ears and sing loudly until February knocks on the door of my cave.
*for the trivia hounds among you the actual answer to that question is the charity Alcohol Concern as they trademarked the phrase in 2014, although the Finnish government spearheaded a similar campaign called ‘Sober January’ in 1942 as part of its war effort.