2012 will be remembered by your scribe as a horrible anus of a year, as Her Majesty (the skydiving, Jubillee-enduring, best-bored-at-her-own-paid-for-by-taxpayers-party-face) Queen so rightly described oneself as having a few years ago. 2013, you owe it to the human race to be a lot better than your predecessor. And, so far, you’re kind of playing by the rules – new Bowie material, no snow, etc. You’re supposed to be fitter, less bitter, drier, higher, funky-er, punky-er, funnier and obviously less punnier. But the month of January, as I wittered on about last year, is the time of year when we decide to purge ourselves of the excesses of the previous December.
But why put ourselves through this annual torture? So we can feel better about ourselves, allegedly. But, in reality, what this stringent denial of various pleasures does is have the opposite effect on you, and therefore the impact you have on everyone around you. By starving yourselves, denying yourselves that glass of wine, that occasional cigarette, that packet of crunchy, salty, bacony, Heaven-made Frazzles, is turn the denier into the Sixth Uncontrollable Bitch-hound of Hades.
As if January isn’t shit enough already, having to deal with the lows of a new year after the festive highs of Christmas presents and excesses, a lot of people have accidentally made themselves snappy, aggressive and unpleasant people to be around in the name of self-improvement. That is a bit selfish, if you ask me. But hey, you probably spent December being really generous, right? So that makes it all ok. Oh.Kay.
January, on paper, should be a time for self-preservation; of winter stews or hearty soups with crusty bread; pints of Guinness in warm pubs with the papers, or FA Cup football in the corner of the bar; generally comforting ourselves with layers of natural fat to keep the cold out, and if that doesn’t work, then head for the added warmth of reduced-price knitwear in the January sales.
(Actually, while I’m here, can you all get over the ‘ironic Christmas jumper’ thing for next year? It’s the fashionable or trendy equivalent of the onesie, another interminable fad that needs firmly planting on the sartorial naughty step, never to be allowed to get up again. Don’t get me wrong, there are times in my adult life when I have been so terminally hungover that the very concept of an adult ‘babygrow with a shitter-zip’ would have serviced my needs perfectly. But in that case, it is unlikely I could have made it from sofa to kitchen to make a cup of tea, let alone stroll proudly to the shops to pick up a tabloid newspaper and a National Lottery scratchcard.)
No, instead of relaxing into the new year in a serene way, the perceived wisdom is that careering in the opposite direction is the right way to go. Go running on a dark evening, when the streets are wet? Or join a gym, as this is definitely the year that you’re going to lose that weight – so that the jeans that you bought at the sales (two years ago, when you got up at six in the fucking morning on Boxing Day, disturbing the whole street, to save twenty measly quid) will eventually fit. Good luck.
Here’s a thought: why not save your misery until March? When the days are longer, hopefully slightly warmer, and the overall self-loathing or lapsed-Christian guilt has subsided? Why can’t you hold off, and we can all get along, because right now, the anger levels are being multiplied, and confrontation becomes more aggressive. Evidence of this contrast can be seen in December, when everyone has their Christmas cheer written across their faces (or jumpers – see above).
The chances are that you are more inclined to talk to, nod, acknowledge, smile or even talk to a stranger in the street. In January, don’t you even dare look at me, let alone make eye contact. Jesus Christ! What? You want to be my friend now? Hell, I was only being polite because it was Christmas, after all, and I was probably a bit drunk, just after a three course breakfast… Sound familiar?
Well, guess what? It was 10 days ago that you were having those warming interactions with strangers in the street/pub/park/station/wherever, as if every day was a Sunday, devoid of reality or responsibilities. Felt good, didn’t it? You can choose to turn the clocks back, maybe not in the calendar, but in the way that your responses and reactions can shape the environment and atmosphere you are contributing to, and therefore responsible for. And maybe that will stop you being a horrible anus, too. Happy New Year, everybody.
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