I realize that we’ve had a love-hate relationship for the past few years, and I wanted to let you know that I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt in 2014. Truth be told, I’ve never really liked you, partly because when you come around, I start feeling guilty about all the stuff I had planned to do since the last time I saw you. Seeing your name is a reminder (as if the mirror and closet weren’t reminders enough) of the weight that I know I need to lose. Your name is a reminder of the hamster wheel that my career seems to be stuck in. The picturesque pages in each new calendar remind me of the places I want to visit, the things I want to do, the adventures I’d like to take.
But there is another big reason why I don’t like you. After making it through another Thanksgiving and another Christmas in this new normal (if such a state even exists), you show up in my life unbidden and remind me in no uncertain terms just how long it has been since my brother died. January 23. It’s as if Jan. 1-22 needn’t bother; I’d just as soon skip to the 24th and start the year there. The first twenty-two days only lead up to the day when I want to crawl under the covers and wake up 24 hours later, anyway, so let’s just fast-forward and pretend the day never happened. And yet, every year like clockwork, it rolls around. And every year, I wake up and go through the motions of another day. This will be year five.
You know what, January? I’m tired of dreading you. I’m tired of letting you dictate how I feel about myself and my circumstances. I have some important things to do while you are around this year, and I’m not going to let grief or guilt stop me from accomplishing them. So, feel free to stick around for 31 days again this year. Just don’t expect me to slow down and wait for you to leave.