First, I need to apologize to January.
We posted this anthem to January after my husband and I, separately, had tried to make plans for February only to realize there was still an additional week of January to endure. This first month of 2024 felt like it had lasted 72 years. It was January 739th in our minds.
I’ve discovered I’m like a delicate house plant that needs sun and water. I am in my best, most productive state near a warm beach. Unfortunately, do not live on or near a warm beach. So January, with its bleak, brutal cold, is always a challenge for me. And I typically have some sort of existential crisis to start the month. Then I slog through the remainder under a pile of coats and hand warmers. This month feels like a month of Mondays.
Time To Slow Down
From my office window I see my determined neighbors setting fitness goals, running up the hill on our street. One after another, bundled and motivated, they are keeping the promises they made to themselves on January 1st. They appear to have an energy I just … don’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I have lofty goals for 2024, but checking them all off in January seems aggressive. There was a time when I’d feel shame for not joining the parade of motivation outside my window. Now, I’m proud to say, I’m extending myself grace.
Mother Nature is hibernating, why shouldn’t I?
I’ve always struggled with the idea of “rest”. Who am I if I’m not productive? Also, I have a job and a family that seems to need food in some form every day so “rest” is relative. But I think my friend January has been trying to tell me something.
January goes so slowly because she wants me to slow down.
A Different Sort of Challenge
Last weekend, the weather was dreary, we had no confirmed plans for the first time in months and I told my family I was “taking to the bed” like one of those Victorian women. My goal was to stare at a screen and do nothing of value for an entire day. In my memory, I couldn’t think of a time when I just allowed myself time to melt into the sheets with the goal of being as unproductive as possible.
Can I admit how hard it was just to sit still for longer than an episode of Survivor?
But I’m no quitter, I forced myself to stay in bed. By the end of the day, I was sore from inactivity and it was glorious. It was exactly the sort of January challenge I felt motivated to complete. My soul needed it. And I need to reframe how I treat this first month of the year. Yes, my new goals will be to find spaces and times to rest.
Stores are already stocking Easter decor, the rest of the year is coming at us fast. I’m sorry for complaining, January. You were trying to tell me something it took me so long to realize. We all need to slow down. We all need rest.
Christmas will be here again in a blink.