I hate January. It is the worst month of the year. Far from a fresh beginning it seems to have morphed into a month which we are all meant to spend atoning for the sins of the previous year, or in this case decade. From the jolly excesses of Christmas and New Year when drinking before 11am and chocolate for breakfast were the order of the day, we are supposed to instantly ditch all forms of comfort in favour of an ascetic existence of no booze, diets, exercise in the freezing cold and a general reassessment of our feckless existence.
Well I say Bah Humbug to all that. I have made a grand total of zero New Year's resolutions, I do not intend to diet, take up any exercise or give up booze until the sun is out for more than 8 hours a day and the temperature rises well above freezing for more than a nanosecond. I just think the cold, dull, depressing first month of the year is the worst time to try to mend your ways. Not only is there precious little in the way of motivation when we are all shrouded in infinite layers of warm weather clothes and the only thing we want to tuck into of a chilly, dark winter's evening is hearty comfort food, the world and his wife have taken over every gym in the country for the annual months of dedicated exercise that will inevitably give way to apathy and sloth come Valentine's Day.
I think that warmer weather that sees us shedding our layers of wool and fleece, and with a less biting desire to fill our bellies against the cold is a much better time to contemplate coming up with a new you. Of course this could all be delaying tactics on my part, but whatever the case I could not be less inclined to come over all health freak right now. I need a large glass of wine and the promise of a takeaway to get me through this most gloomy of months.
One bright speck on the horizon is the twins first birthday though. Before all our family birthdays fell in September and October which made the start of the year even more bleak and lacking in promise, but now we have a double celebration coming up on 9 February, so at last I have something to look forward to in dead of winter.
Not that they are having a big party as I learnt long ago that the more effort expended on a first birthday the less it was appreciated by the birthday boy. With son number one I held an epic do with all his baby pals, the whole family, a hand made cake in the shape of a pumpkin (his birthday is Halloween), made from all organic, baby friendly ingredients, complete with the entire range of Organix snacks for the kids and a full buffet for the grown ups.
My son proceeded to fall asleep just as his tiny guests started to arrive, then scream his way through the party, sitting in outraged disgust as all his friends crawled around him, showing off their early prowess against his stubborn stillness. Son number two had a much smaller family party which I think he enjoyed, and the twins will be getting cake and lots of cuddles, but still a birthday is always a reason for cheer when you are under the age of 25.
Over the age of 25 is another matter, and this assessment of achievements that happens on birthdays is another vice that I can't help but indulge in at the start of the year. I felt quite faint at the idea that this year my eldest son will be seven, while number two will finally start school in September. How did my life flash by that these babes in arms should be schoolboys in what seems like an instant?
I know friends with older children tell me it's the same throughout their lives, that one minute you are changing nappies and seeking out soft play areas, the next you packing their cases to send them off to university, but I never quite believed it until now. It sends cold shivers down my spine in the watches of the night the speed at which my life is travelling now. I want to press the pause button so I can stop and enjoy my boys childhood, instead of watching it rush past in a blur like an express train whipping through a provincial station.
Of course on a more selfish note this speedy growth of my boys speeds my own ageing process up. If I were without small people growing ever larger around me perhaps I could kid myself that I was as young as I feel, but with the sons I once cradled in a single arm now up to my chest this illusion is harder to maintain.
So not only is New Year depressingly full of born again healthniks, the papers that were just weeks ago pushing lucious Christmas treats at us now outlining hard core detoxs, the weather maintaining a frosty stance and work back in full swing again, I am fighting a losing battle against the more cosmic thoughts a new year brings. Therefore I declare that I shall indeed have a happy New Year by avoiding everything associated with it.