January rocks because you can celebrate doing NOTHING!
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Wednesday is National Nothing Day, a day of celebrating nothing in particular or, as Stacia Briggs suggests, perhaps taking stock that January isn't actually that bad
As I write this, it is blacker than a thousand midnights in a black hole – and it's only 9.15am.
January has a lot to contend with: it follows party month December and the over-hyped nonsense of New Year's Eve (I missed midnight this year – when it happened I was emptying the tumble dryer), involves actual and financial hangovers, the ridiculousness of the sales and boasts a general flavour of an entire month of Mondays.
It's a time when your social media feeds are full of people bleating on about resolutions and goals that you couldn't care less about or, if you don't have social media feeds because you're too busy having a real life, it's a time when the post office is full of people bleating on about resolutions and goals that you couldn't care less about.
It's a time when if you don't have any resolutions or goals for the new year you oscillate wildly between unfettered joy that you can still eat cheese/be unpleasant to your family/drink heavily/not worry if you can't climb more than five stairs without hyperventilating and blind panic that you're a health timebomb/the worst human on earth.
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It's New Year, and there is no New You. You are the same old you that you have always been, just a bit fatter, skinter and considerably less festive.
We are also speeding towards Blue Monday, which a public relations company made up several years ago to sell holidays, the third Monday of January which is seen as being 'officially the depressing day of the year' (thank Dr Cliff Arnall, who came up with the Blue Monday formula almost 15 years ago in a press release distributed by his holiday company Sky Travel).
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It's blue due to variables such as weather conditions, debt, the end of Christmas, failed New Year's resolutions and low motivation levels which all, according to Dr Cliff, contribute to a mass depression culminating on Blue Monday. Well that's something to look forward to next week.
But enough whinging: January represents a twelfth of your year and therefore a twelfth of your life and moaning about it won't make it any better or any shorter. So let's concentrate on the good things about January – for a start, we're already 16 days in so we're 16 days nearer to February and Valentine's Day and pancakes and secondly, we're exceptionally close to it being the furthest point from Christmas that it's possible to be, which is good for our wallets, waistlines and very probably our relationships with our nearest and dearest.
If you can't quit cigarettes or alcohol or lard or spying on your partner for no good reason, quit your hatred for January – it's easier than taking up running, for a start.
REASONS WHY JANUARY ISN'T COMPLETELY TERRIBLE:
1) Happy January (Christmas is Over) as John Lennon almost said:
However dire and gloomy January feels, at least it calls a halt to the over-consumption, over-booked, overwhelming over-the-topness of Christmas. The festive season is an energy thief, especially if you are the one responsible for the majority of the 'magic' which is only ever 'magic' if you're not the one responsible for it. Similarly, any of the relaxing yuletide benefits are only applicable if you're not the one who has to do all the cooking/cleaning/present buying/pretending to be Father Christmas. Yes, January can be a bit boring. But at least no one expects you to produce endless mince pies and hot chocolates at the drop of a hat.
2) The shortest day of the year is in our wake:
Look, I know it doesn't feel like it, but we're well on the path to blue skies and sunshine. Or at the very least, streetlights that don't come on at 4pm and mornings that don't begin with bleak despair as you realise you are rising in the dark and then coming home in the dark and that any hours of precious daylight there are you spend in dim confinement, toiling for The Man. Or is that just me?
3) It's National Nothing Day today:
Founded by fellow newspaper columnist Harold Pullman Coffin in 1972, National Nothing Day was created as a day to provide us all with a solitary national day on which we don't have to celebrate, observe or honour anything whatsoever. Realising that special interest groups had effectively hijacked the calendar and filled it with days or months when we're supposed to fund people's £2,000 charity trips to an idyllic holiday location in order to raise £300 for a cause, think about depressing things, give money to help stop depressing things happening or buy cakes to help stop depressing things happening, Coffin invented a day when we can do nothing and feel fine about it. Celebrating this non-event would be contrary to the spirit of the day, but ignoring the washing-up very definitely would not.
4) There are no mosquitoes.
5) Even if you have over-indulged, no one can see it:
The benefit of cold, wet, miserable days is that you have to dress for them – well, you don't, but wearing a golden bikini and nothing else at this time of year might draw attention. A multitude of sins – and chins – can be hidden with winter woollies meaning that you do not have to address your obscene obesity until the advent of summer unless there is an intervention by a clinician. The same excuse extends to shaving one's legs and addressing the tidemarks of the party season's unwise spray tan session.
6) You get to reclaim the weekend:
During December, the concept of the weekend is out of the window. If January is a month of Mondays, December is a month of weekends. And when it actually is a weekend in December you're expected to spend it decorating or shopping or present-delivering or wrapping or seeing people or dressing up or pretending to be overjoyed people have 'just popped round' or choking down mulled wine that tastes like liquid air freshener. In January, no one is interested in what you are doing at the weekend. They just want you to keep away while they finish off the cheeseboard.
7) There are no wasps.
8) Do you hear what I hear? No Christmas songs:
You can switch on the radio without fear that you'll hear Shakin' Stevens, Noddy Holder, Chris Rea, The Flying Pickets, Cliff Richard, Mike Oldfield, Boney M, East 17 or Jona Lewie. Despite my innate cynicism, even I am happy to hear Christmas songs when they start playing on the radio in August or whenever Christmas starts these days. By December 25, however, I wish I was a real wizard, like Harry Potter, so that I could commit a magical act of petty fury on Wizzard and associates.
9) Film and TV producers up their game:
Realising that we've spent the past eight weeks in a fug of goodwill and therefore haven't noticed the endless repeats on the box and the slew of horrific Christmas films at the flicks, entertainment bosses are equally aware that we're now either imprisoned in our homes due to poverty or desperate to sit in a darkened room for a few hours without speaking and have brought out the big guns. Luther, Les Miserables, Baptiste…and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
10) Mistakes, I've made a few:
Unless you've already been busy, or New Year's Eve was particularly climactic, this is one of the only times when you can truthfully claim that all your recent mistakes took place 'last year' which in anyone's terms is absolutely ages ago. It's been a really successful year so far, right? Surely even you haven't messed it up in 16 days, have you