Between learning a new language, ridding my fridge of fattening and/or expired foods, nurturing my spiritual side, following through on my commitments, enhancing relationships with family, friends and co-workers, and organizing my self-help books, I've had a busy 2008 so far.
This week, it occurred to me that we don't make New Year's resolutions simply to improve ourselves. We make them to kill time during the most boring month of all.
Let's face it: Unless your birthday happens to fall in the first 31 days on the calendar, January is a total loser.
I mean, seriously, have you ever heard anyone claim to LOVE January? Through time immemorial, has a single person uttered the words, "Goodie! January is here!" or "Oh, that January! Sure puts May to shame, don't you think?"
Even the songwriters of the world have found nothing to love about Month No. 1. You can croon about "April in Paris" and "April Love." Join a rousing chorus of "June is Busting Out All Over" (to which I always used to add, ": June better get a bigger dress." That line brought the house down in fifth grade.) Then, there's "September Morn," "September Song" and "See You in September." And a host of odes to December, such as the Four Seasons' "December '63 (Oh, What a Night)," and Merle Haggard's "If we make it through December" (to which HE should have added, "Everything's going straight downhill from there.")
But a song about January? Not in the repertoire.
Maybe Edwin Starr could have had an even bigger hit in 1970 if he'd written:
What is it good for?
There ARE people, however, who embrace the first month, unabashedly with open arms. For promotional purposes only, of course.
Take the oatmeal people, for example. Yes, January is National Oatmeal Month, which, when you think about it, makes perfect sense. Because what could be more bland than a bowlful of hot, grayish mush on a cold, grayish day?
January is also National Soup Month, Hot Tea Month, Blood Donor Month and Braille Literacy Month. Now I like oatmeal, soup and tea as much as the next gal. If I didn't have microscopic veins that roll at the very sight of a needle, I'd be a regular blood donor. (Seriously, a Red Cross nurse begged me never to come back.) And who am I to deny Braille Literacy four weeks' worth of heydays?
That said, the month's a clinker, and you know it. No amount of tomato bisque or oolong is going to change that.
But, wait! This just in: January is also National Hobby Month. At last! A bandwagon I can jump on. That's how I'll survive! I am going to get a hobby. And not just one. Several! That can be done simultaneously, preferably.
Besides, hobbies are so much better than resolutions. You can pick up a hobby and put it down again. Engage, disengage. Craft, don't craft. But resolutions, by their very nature, are more demanding. You don't take a break from a resolution; you quit. Stop knitting for a month or two, and who cares? Break your New Year's diet after a week and you're a complete failure.
That's it, people! Let's replace those unforgiving resolutions with happy New Year's hobbies. Who knows? Come Feb. 1, we might not be so grumpy!
And so the search begins. Which diversions shall I choose to survive the longest, darkest month of the year? I'll bet my self-help books have some good ideas. Now, where did I put those things ...?