Tackling January is tricky one. On New Year’s day we took a very cold and wet walk, it rained all day, to combat cabin fever we wrapped up and headed out to the local woods for a miserable but ultimately satisfying walk. The following day was a very different story. Equally cold, but full of winter sunshine. Despite ‘end-of-holiday’ weariness, we stomped up a hill at Brean Down and could see for miles. All was good with the world and anything was possible. That for me is January.
January has all the potential, currently everywhere I look are articles and blog posts bursting with plans and goals for the coming year, January is bright, clear and the vista is long.
Let’s be honest, the month is often more like a rainy day, confining and miserable. Just when you get into the swing of feel-good resolutions, the internet shifts the other way and along comes the third Monday in January, designated ‘Blue Monday’ the most miserable day of the year. Because January is (apparently) by then full of failed resolutions and Christmas credit card bills. My plan was to start the year without a plan, but I can’t avoid a plan, I’m designating January; Kind January.
For someone who loves a list, thrives of ticking things off, the whole ‘no plan thing’ proved tricky. I needed a distraction and found it on ITV. Between Christmas and New Year, I shifted into neutral mode, no goal setting or plans. Instead, I sat down with my son and binged on films; Harry Potter, all 8, over 19 hours of film watching. I hold my hand up at this point and say “I’ve never read Harry Potter”. Witchcraft and adolescent boys just didn’t appeal, the hype passed me by. Obviously, I am very late to the party. Harry was, for me, a revelation positive messages.
Harry Potter and the New Year
J K Rowling weaves some wonderful themes, clearly there is the importance of friends, education and good over evil. Having the courage of your convictions, being generous and kind even to those that don’t deserve it. There are some timely reminders of looking beyond mis-information and obscured truths. The Ministry of Magic and Daily Prophet newspaper spin a view that just isn’t true. Which chimes nicely with ‘Fake News‘ and a ‘post-truth’ world. There are parallels in Voldemort’s views on those who are Muggle born and the narrative that has found voice over the last year around people not born in the UK. How quickly, people blithely follow without question. For me, useful things to discuss with a 9 year old and useful to ponder at the beginning of year that will have challenges.
While I appreciate that everywhere else is full of positivity and leaving 2016 behind. January is for appreciating the good things of 2016, good people and places, moments and memories. This year has challenges; on 20th January is the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. I may re-designate that ‘Blue Friday’. At some point this year ‘Article 50’ will be triggered. It’s democracy, I appreciate that, but I still don’t like it. It has left me politically very lost. I still feel a deep sadness about the decision to leave the EU.
It seems January without a plan just isn’t January, rather than dry January or fitness January, I’m going for ‘Kind January’. I’m going to spent the month easing into the year. Enjoying the good things, left-over Christmas cheese and hot chocolate on cold afternoons, baking cakes to share. Being kind to myself, rather than denying treats in the coldest month. In other years I’ve used the Susannah Conway workbook to find a word for the year, it’s a lovely tool for reflecting and looking forward. Maybe I’ll find a word, maybe this year I won’t.
It seems to me that January is a good time to curl up, plan and be kind to yourself and others. It’s very easy to hibernate in January, all the sparkle and hospitality has been spent in December. January is for digging out cook books, cooking big batches of comfort food for friends. For me, it’s red wine not no wine. Spending time over Christmas ‘Thank You’ letters. Making summer plans. Sorting out cupboards and supporting the local charity shop rather than (the faff) of ebay. Walking in the woods and enjoying the magic of frost, fog and glistening rain covered leaves over pounding the treadmill at a gym. Finding the magic. That’s my take. What’s yours?