Well, I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas. I know I did, which only makes the month of January an even harder pill to swallow. Ah, how I long for it to be the week leading up to Christmas again! I admit that it's nice to get the kids back on a schedule, and to get the crispy brown tree out of our house, and to enjoy the nice presents we received. Yet, for all that niceness, Christmastime is nicer. I love to see Main Street twinkling, and the lights from houses shining from the hill. I love the music, and the shopping, and the wrapping, and the busy-ness of it all. Christmastime is an excuse for unnecessary indulgences. Things like tinsel and lights, and snow in a can. We can be silly at Christmas. Think about it: what's sillier than putting a dead tree in your house--undergoing all the physical exertion, and sometimes pain, that it takes just to get the dang thing strapped to the tops of our cars, cut the bottom off, drag it into the house, and wedge it in that cotton-picking tree stand-and then adorning that tree with lights and completely useless balls of glass and handmade ornaments? It's downright insane. But we all do it, and not only that, we love to do it! We'd be shocked if someone didn't do it. Christmas makes us act a little nutty. It's an excuse for absurdity, and I love absurdity. Now, though, when I see the lights still twinkling from a few people's houses, and trees still shining in their windows, I don't think it's a wonderful sight to behold, like I did two weeks ago. Instead, I just feel a little ashamed. Did I really get into that last month? Did I really spray fake snow all over my house and cram a strand of 100 lights into a glass vase simply because I thought it looked pretty? This isn't relevant anymore! It's so two weeks ago. And I have to admit that I feel almost embarrassed to see dried up garlands and trees standing naked right in people's front yards, waiting to be taken away for recycling. It's like we have used them, taken everything we could from them, then left them out in the cold. So the end of Christmas is a bit of a psychological blow for me. But luckily my children are more well-adjusted than I am. They take it all in stride, actually showing excitement about going back to school, and gently telling me that no, I cannot just keep the garland up on my mantle for one more month. They move on with life, while I yearn for something exciting to break up the monotony (where is my free pie day when I need it?) And please don't try to cheer me up with a reminder of the poor excuses for holidays that are coming up. Presidents' Day? Please! does Presidents' Day cause us to upend our lives so much that we are willing to bring something dead into our home and decorate it to look pretty? No. Valentines Day? Give me a break! Valentine's Day is nothing more than a sadistic set-up for disappointment. I could get into St. Patrick's Day (being as Irish as I am), but as I am neither living in Boston, nor a person who drinks alcohol, it's sort of anti-climactic as well. Easter is all right, but the Easter Bunny has NOTHING on Santa when it comes to magicalness and lore. I don't even think my kids know about the Easter Bunny. No, there won't be anything good again until Independence Day at the earliest. Halloween pretty much kicks off the awesomeness, in my opinion. So, what do we do until then? We make ridiculous resolutions about "being better" and "getting thinner." We try really hard in January, and then we forget about our resolutions for the rest of the year. I wish it weren't true, but it is. It's a sad cycle. All of this--the post Christmas let-down, the empty resolutions, the dead trees in the front yards--combines to make January really depressing. So, how do I stave off depression in January? I don't. Instead, I revel in it. I sit by the fire, drinking hot chocolate and feeling sorry for myself. When the urge to make goals strikes, I rearrange my Netflix queue. When I want a holiday, I do some internet shopping, or I search for the lowest airline tickets to far away places like India or Thailand. When I feel guilty about all the food I ate during the holidays, I eat an apple. When I look in the mirror and see the result of my euphoric overconsumption of calories (mainly from chocolate), I put on a scarf. They are very slimming, like a tie is for a man. I lie in bed. I eat thick stews. It's kind of like hibernating. And that is how I get through the bleak stillness of January. If anyone out there is feeling the same as I am, come on over. We can cry into our thick stews together. Have a merry January and a happy Presidents' Day.
The day this appeared in the newspaper I stepped on a toy and broke my foot. Thanks alot, Hazel. I had been stewing all day about how mad I am at my kids for their messiness, contemplating putting all their toys in a locked cabinet, and then I broke my foot. So, now I have January depression and a giant boot.