Is there any month more fraught with expectation? The blank slate of January is less of an exciting time to rewrite your annual destiny and test out resolutions, and more of time for self-loathing because it’s Jan. 7 and you still haven’t been to the gym. Of course you haven’t, there are leftover holiday cookies to eat. There’s no point getting your sweat on if you’re going to refuel your fat stores as soon as you get home.
January is like our mother. She wants us to “do our best,” but she’s kind of disappointed that our best is second to last place. If our fifth grade science fair project taught us anything, it taught us that our mother really did think we could make a volcano on our own, that poor, confused woman.
February is also like our mother, but the version that defends us to the next-door neighbor when we break their basement window because we were throwing rocks at squirrels. We are a little bit deviant, a little bit criminal, but our mom knows we have a good heart and she’s willing to stand up and shelter us from things like responsibility for our actions. That’s the mom we want when we have head colds or find out we are going to prison for tax evasion.
So let’s just skip January this year and fall into the forgiving arms of February, a month that says, “It’s okay if you never organized the coat closet, that’s what shutting the closet door is for.”
Imagine how great we’d all feel about ourselves if we accepted that we cannot, will not meet the demands of January, but look at how we’re killing it in February. In February, we aren’t failing at 2016, we are valiantly salvaging it!
By February, most of the chirrupy, inspirational social media posts have ceased. No more the admonitions to save money and floss more and throw out all those unmatched socks. So when we ride into the second month, finally having started our personal campaign of improvement, we are the sole voice on the social media mountain, crying out our successes for all of Facebook to marvel at.
Another neat bonus is that February is the shortest month and we’re a little lazy. This year it’s one day longer, because it’s Leap Year, but 29 days is still one or two days shorter than any other month. It’s like starting a diet on a Wednesday. It’s a little easier to make it through that shortened week without breaking into a box of donuts, but we still have the satisfaction of feeling ravenous but thinner.
I see you, January, with your to do lists and vision boards. I see you lurking with unbridled expectation and seriously misplaced optimism. You seem to forget that I’ve been saying for 5 years that I’d like to have someone come into the house and clean out our heating ducts, and yet, here I am, swimming in airborne dust motes. Let’s just agree to go our separate ways. I’ll see you in 2017, and you let me hop into February, where I will at least, I don’t know, dust something.