I've always had an issue with people hating January. It may be a month entirely given over to grey skies, DFS adverts and images of lycra-clad celebrities next to cut-outs of their flabbier selves, exhaling, but it is also my birthday month, and as such I won't hear a word against it. So while you're supping on your cabbage soup and signing your first-born over to David Lloyd, you can always remember that somewhere, I'm sticking my face in a cake while other people clap. Isn't that a comfort?
And besides my personal felicitations (I can see why this might not be good news enough to redeem the entire month - after all, finding me the perfect present is a chore akin to fighting fat with Kerry Katona), there are plenty of other reasons to love January. Rather than see it as the drill master of months, demanding you better yourself with the help of screechy whistle, you should look at it as a kind of half-hearted warm-up for the year ahead.
Nothing in January has to be done with any real gumption, because anything a bit substandard can be shrugged off with a simple "meh, it's January". January is a dress rehearsal month, where you almost intentionally fail at things, knowing that nobody expected much anyway. And like dress rehearsals, if you actually do the thing brilliantly then it's bad, because the real event will then inevitably be a letdown. The real event in this case being February, and the letdown being pancakes that won't flip, a lenten vow that lasts 40 minutes and a Valentine's Day spent alone in a slanket eating a SaraLee gateau.
Take your lead from the world of fashion magazines (always a trusted source for a real grasp on reality). The September issue of Vogue is always a weighty tome, because that is the true New Year. September is about whipping yourself back into shape, evolving a new look and buying a new pencil case from WH Smith. It always has been. Meanwhile, January's Vogue is always a pitiful slip of a thing, barely enough to wedge a draft out from the bottom of the door. This month's issue has Victoria Beckham on the cover, and even she's wearing a Granny jumper. The jig is up. January operates at half-mast. It's on dial-up, not broadband. Relax, your gluts are never going to look any different.
I only wish that more people could be enlightened on this viewpoint. Because while my new year's resolutions reflect the real pace of the month - "take rubbish out", "tweeze eyebrows sometime before April", etc - everyone else in my life seems to be psyching up for the self-renovation of the century.
New Boyfriend has declared an Age of Austerity and compiled a spreadsheet of all his monthly outgoings (£120 on beer, £8 on Weetabix).
My mate Pete, formerly the man for whom a hamper of Sainsbury's Basics noodles was a decadent Christmas present, is potentially buying a third of a flat. Just as I've vowed to party more and care less, all of my nearest and dearest are climbing mountains then going to bed at 11 with a copy National Geographic. It's wrong.
And what's more, it's no fun. For me. So with just two weeks to go until my birthday, I'm selflessly devoting my month to helping those less fortunate than myself… to give up and wait till February. Cake for everybody!
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