In Defense of January

Growing up, I always thought January through May was a bit of a waste. Christmas was over, Halloween wasn’t for months, and we were all just holding on until summer break started. The first few months of the year passed in a drudging blur. Every time I wrote the date at the top of my paper, I had to remind myself—is it March or April?

That ho-hum attitude persisted for the first year or two after I graduated college. Ah, I’d think vaguely on New Year’s Day, here comes the boring part. I’d only start paying attention again in June or August, perking up when the summer came.

But now that I’m not in school anymore, I’m experiencing a sort of first-half-of-the-year renaissance. Now that I’m a proper adult™, I’m realizing that January is a gift. It’s a lull in the season, a lovely time for hibernation after all the hectic frenzy of the holidays. It’s a manual reset, forcing us to reexamine our lives and our goals. And it’s time that can be well spent.

I can’t believe I used to spend about half the year in willful ignorance, yearning instead for later, better months. What kind of a life is that?

This year, in 2018, I want to embrace the “boring” months and find the silver lining in each.

With that in mind, here are some of my 2018 New Year’s resolutions:

Go to church every week. Like many other young people, I have a hard time getting myself to church on Sunday. Mostly I hate going by myself. This year, I want to shake that feeling off and go to church every week.

Clean the litter box every day. Need I say more?

Write one letter every week. I’m not a social butterfly, to say the least, and one of the unfortunate hallmarks of young adulthood seems to be loneliness. Every older adult I talk to says they struggled with the same feelings at my age. So I’d like to reach out to the friends I do have and make real connections with them. I love receiving letters—who doesn’t? Thus, a letter-writing campaign.

Read 50 books. I was a voracious reader as a child, but during college, I let the habit drop. Too much homework, too much stress, and a slight addiction to YouTube meant I read much less than I would’ve liked. In 2017, I finally got my juju back by reading 50 books during the year. I want to keep that record going in 2018.

At the opening of this year, I keep repeating the same idea in my head: I have so much to be thankful for. Big things: my family, my job, my apartment, my car, my health. Little things: ginger and turmeric tea, warm sunshine, a purring cat, a new haircut I love. My life is full to bursting with marvelous, wonderful gifts—so many things I can hardly comprehend them. Every new breath in my lungs, every pulse of blood through my veins.

I find peace when I count my blessings and not my complaints. And while that’s an obvious sentiment, it’s astounding how quickly I forget it.

May 2018 be a year in which we remember our blessings and forget our complaints. May we embrace January, and February, and every day and week and second of this year. May we move forward in hope and strength.

2018: We’re ready for you.

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