The only thing more prevalent now, than people making sweeping declarations about how a “New Year” means a “New You”, are the masses of people rushing to dramatically denounce this concept.
What was once a time of year that saw sales of fitness DVDs sky rocket, meditation apps be re-downloaded by the thousand and wheelie bins overflow with minced pies (to be known henceforth as ‘temptations’), is now regarded a little differently.
Bored of diet-culture and of the laughable contradictory messages we are being fed from all angles; encouraged to stuff ourselves to bursting point in December only to starve ourselves to death’s door come January, to spend all year practising self love only to find out that by the year’s close the old you is actually a pile of shit most pigs would be embarrassed to admit to: people are flocking to their keypads; chivvying to explain first why they plan on spending January as fat and drunk as they spent December.
And I don’t blame them.
Finding the line between looking back at the year just gone and sourcing things to be proud of and looking ahead to the year on it’s way and listing all the ways in which we must be better, it’s frustrating.
Congratulations on your A* in 2018. You deserved it. Now let’s see you try the same thing again next year, only this time you must do it in Arabic, blindfolded, whilst standing on your head.
So I can understand the apathy. I can understand why people have had enough. I can understand why people aren’t rushing to do big spring cleans, or pledge to give up meat or organise a mass exorcism of all carbohydrates.
I can understand why people feel the need to remind others that they are good enough, because fuck me it’s hard bloody work convincing yourself of that at this time of year.
When the small talk of choice is: SO HOW ARE YOU PLANNING ON IMPROVING YOURSELF THEN? It’s inevitable that soon you’ll accept that something, somewhere, could do with an upgrade.
If a leaflet comes through your letterbox offering the services of a builder for seven days, completely free, you can be damn sure you’ll find a million and ten things for him to do around your otherwise perfect house (the otherwise perfect house that would have been left untended to forever, had the opportunity of free manual labour not quite literally landed on your doorstep).
January is that builder. Except you’re the one required to do all the work and it’s not free because cleaning products, vegetables and gym memberships are among three of the most boringly overpriced products in existence.
But you get the gist.
January is the “oh well I might as well give this healthy living a go” that you’d get berated for at any other time of the year.
Start a diet in March and you can be sure everyone you meet will rush to you to tell you how you look SENSATIONAL, you have a body to die for and you mustn’t diet NOT NOW, NOT EVER.
Try and quit smoking in July and everyone you know who has so much owned a lighter will offer you a fag: you can’t quit now, summer is a great time to be a smoker! they’ll say (it’s true, it is. I gave up smoking this year, by the way, if ya wanna read about it).
Go sober for the month of October and you’ve either given up giving up by the 3rd or you run the risk of missing out on literally everything your friends have planned.
This shit does not happen in January. And not just because there’s nothing going on.
It doesn’t happen in January because everyone is trying in January. Even the people loudly denouncing New Year’s Resolutions are probably, secretly taking the opportunity to self-improve… even if just a tiny bit. Even if they won’t admit it… ever.
We’re all in the same boat.
The boat sinking.
The boat is definitely sinking.
But we are at least, all in it together.
For every thousand passengers that get on that ferry (yes, I’ll flog this metaphor until it’s fish-food on the seabed, just you watch), only one will finish the twelve month voyage without so much as a droplet of salt water on them.
Most of us will have jumped ship (or, when pushed to in questioning, been shoved off the ship) by the time January is over.
But it’s not lonely in the sea because we will have fallen (hrhumm, been pushed) at more or less the same time as everyone else.
The sting that comes with failure isn’t so bad in January. In fact, the sting is normally a welcome relief, and tastes like a chilled glass chardonnay and a big bar of galaxy chocolate.
I bloody love January.
My resolutions are non specific; I pledge to get better at sharing food (I’m terrible at sharing food), to exercise a little more, eat a little less, to keep the house tidier, work harder, become an overnight millionaire and look like Blake Lively.
Inevitably, I will fail.
With resolutions like those, I have set myself up for failure. Most notably because I really, really hate sharing food.
But it’s the sense of possibility that I really love.
The possibility that I might be able to one day go to a restaurant with my friends and be able to order a share platter without revealing myself to be the most selfish eater in London.
The possibility of one day having triceps, and biceps, and glute muscles distinguishable from thigh cellulite.
The possibility that come February, I might really actually look like Blake Lively.
The air is THICK with possibility. It’s electric. IT’S EXCITING.
January is fun.
In the most perverse and boring way possible.
In the way that getting up at 6 in the morning and not eating chocolate and going to bed at 9 o’clock is instead of going to the pub is.
Okay, okay, it’s not that fun.
But that doesn’t mean it needs shitting on.
Wanting to better yourself isn’t anything to be ashamed of, New Year’s Resolutions, fresh starts, a chance at self improvement; none of that is anything to be ashamed of.
And so whilst we can admire those rushing to denounce the “New Year, New You” culture of dieting and exercising and bathing in bleach and drinking lots of hot water with lemon, let’s not, please let them ruin our fun.
Even if our fun looks like dieting, and exercising, and bathing in bleach and drinking lots of hot water with lemon in it.
Even if our fun, doesn’t look that fun at all.