February 5, and I’ve never felt more relieved at the turning of another calendar page. Suffice it to say, I have a love/hate relationship with the month of January. Kind of like Starbucks – a quick caffeine fix at the expense of a sub-par cappuccino and the snotty baristas I’m forced to suck up to – or that wolf-in-le-crueset-clothing known as Williams-Sonoma.
I realize that to my inner optimist, which I’m still convinced does in fact exist, this sounds completely backwards: as if anyone can outwardly deny the inherent goodness of a slate-wiped-clean? January 1 begins a fresh start, a gift of 365 new days mercifully and miraculously granted, completely pro bono, at the end of a simple countdown (10…9…8…). There’s just no greater demonstration of unfiltered idealism – not in real life, anyway. Fundamentally, January is the best kind of gift, wrapped up in all things bright-and-shiny. Promises made, resolutions resolved, 2010 is right on track with a flood of newfound self-will (as in ‘I will enjoy multiple pours of Pinot without compromise of social repute’)…
…Right on up until that midweek morning, when the pleasant clink of champagne flutes has been replaced by jarring email alerts, inclement weather forecasts and the hollow echoing of my deficit checking account. Welcome, throes of reality. Suddenly, this same month of inspired hopefulness is the ultimate killjoy, drowning out the holiday crescendo with the dull white noise of winter. Despite earnest refusals to surrender our twinkling lights and four-foot Christmas tree to cardboard box obscurity, January trudges us onward in a barrage of imperatives (must.exit.warm.bed.), budget reallocations, and (*shudder*) scratchy turtleneck sweaters.
All of this, I could deal with, if it wasn’t for the part that makes January just so irksome: the New-Year-New-You Nonsense. Like the winter Olympics of self-improvement services, the occupants of this faithful Barnes & Noble subsection elbow into primetime, ablaze in full-force competition for top place on the medal stand.
How-to: be happy, save money, age gracefully, keep the secret, succeed without bribery, raise kids who don’t hate you. Worst of all offenders – though the ‘finding mr. right’ series is a very close second – the ‘Healthy Living’ display, a thinly veiled pointed finger with endearing titles like The Belly Fat Cure, Cook Yourself Thin and my personal fav, YOU: On A Diet.
Now, after months of noel noshery, I can certainly appreciate a lighter table load. But to this subjugation of guilt from traitorous kitchen-aides, I must object. I mean, really – a girl works hard to keep up airs of holiday cheer. You think it was easy stuffing down homemade fudge and cookies by the tin? Or plating a second scoop of family-recipe cranberry sauce and buttered mashed potatoes? As if I could disappoint the expectant entreaties by refusing another slice of pie. It’s called being an gracious guest, people. And every bite was a (delicious) sacrifice.
So thank you, Skinny Bitch, but I will relish my dutiful task of devouring the remainder of my 2-lb gift box of See’s omigosh-these-are-THE-best-chocolate truffles one.by.one throughout January and beyond — and feel all the better for it.