Living Madly – Six Reasons to Love January
Many people find January to be a rather gloomy month. The festivities of the holidays have ended. It’s cold. Often, it snows a lot. And there are at least three months to kill before anything resembling springlike weather can be expected.
While all of this is true, I’ve always felt that January gets a bad rap. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. So, in honor of 2021 and all the possibilities that have arrived along with it, here are a few of the reasons I think January is a special.
No More Christmas Decorations — In a day and age when many people begin putting up their Christmas trees and outdoor lights right after Halloween (something that drives me nuts), the arrival of January usually means all these adornments will finally be taken down. Even in my house (where no holiday decorations are allowed until the calendar says it’s December), I am always relieved when the wreath is removed from the front door and everything is back in its rightful place.
Longer Days — On the winter solstice in late December, New England only gets about nine hours and four minutes of daylight. By Jan. 1, just a couple of weeks later, the length of the day has already increased by more than five minutes. By Jan. 31, we have almost 55 more minutes of daylight than we did on the solstice. The increasing daylight always brightens my mood and makes me feel optimistic about the year ahead.
New Beginnings — For most of the year, I’m somewhat hesitant to abandon tasks I’ve been working on, especially creative writing projects. Even if they don’t seem to be working out the way I wanted, and even if I don’t really like them anymore, I keep telling myself that I will get to them eventually. Once January rolls around, though, I seem able to give myself permission to abandon some of these duds. It’s so motivating to have a clean slate that sometimes I even go back and finish a project or two.
Time to Myself — The holiday season tends to be busy. It’s all about spending time with family and friends, and doing things like shopping, cooking and sending out holiday cards. Even though I enjoy these things, they all have a sense of obligation about them, which I don’t always like.
January, by contrast, usually brings a return to “normal” life, something a lot of people find depressing. But January’s relative calm and quiet is something I always look forward to. After the holidays, I really enjoy having time do things I want to do, including resting, organizing my home and office, thinking about my goals, reading books I’ve been meaning to get to, and planning some of the things I want to do in the year ahead.
Everything Is Cheaper — Once the holidays are over, retailers are looking to get rid of their winter stock and start selling items for spring. In recent years, I’ve gotten some great deals on winter clothing, coats and boots, outdoor equipment, small appliances, cookware and dishes at January sales. Prices at restaurants and hotel rates also seem to be lower this time of year. Even services that almost everyone needs, like oil changes and haircuts, seem to cost a bit less. As an added bonus, crowds seem to virtually disappear from stores and other public places after the new year begins, making going out safer and more pleasant.
Nature — My husband, Rob, and I spend a lot of time outdoors, usually hiking or snowshoeing in the White Mountains or locally in one of our state parks. While we enjoy these activities year-round, there’s something especially magical about spending time in a snow-covered forest. There are few settings as peaceful or beautiful, and we often have these places to ourselves, especially in January, when temperatures tend to be coldest. Considering the hordes of inexperienced hikers who flocked to trails and conservation areas for most of 2020, many of them making a lot of noise and leaving behind piles of trash, this January I’m looking forward — perhaps most of all — to enjoying some peace and quiet outdoors.
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