I’m in awe of all the people I know doing Dry January, but I’m going to have to sit this one out. I admire you, but I can’t find it in me to make the toughest month of the year even tougher by giving up nice things. I can’t forego my Friday night wine any more than I can give up my Wednesday night cake or Saturday night cheese – on these long, dark, cold (well, not really cold) January days, I need my treats more than ever. I’d go one further and say that for the last decade and a half, I’ve seen January as a time to be extra nice to myself and indulge more than I would in a normal month.
I think it stems from working through Christmas in my twenties and early thirties – I worked in the Funds industry, and the office was always open again on the 27th. So when all my friends were gleefully planning to go to Club 92 on St Stephen’s night, I was wondering if I could chance it for an hour and still be okay for work the next morning. And as someone who gets hangovers after not many drinks at all, this was always a gamble. I usually went along but erred on the side of caution and went home early. Pity party for one. Literally one – none of my friends ever had to work on the 27th. *cue violins*
Then when everyone else was back at work in January – talking about de-toxing and wheatgerm smoothies and never drinking again – my reserves were still full, and I was dying for treats and nights out. So January became a time for catching up with people I hadn’t seen during the manic run up to Christmas, or curling up on the couch with a glass of red wine and a big slice of cake.
Then I had kids and I didn’t work so much over Christmas any more (because plucking a child out of bed at 6.30am on the 28th of December to bring them to crèche is no fun at all) but the early work-mornings were replaced by early baby-mornings, and the result was the same – big nights out are less appealing when you have a baby waking at 4am. And 5am. And 6am.
And now the 4am and the 5am wake-ups don’t happen anymore, and the commute is long gone, but the January treat habit hasn’t gone away. This is of course also because the house is still full of treats – I appear to have bought enough food for a family three times the size of my own, meaning we still have a full pudding, 12 mince pies, an unopened box of biscuits, a tin of Celebrations, and one and half jars of brandy butter.
Of course I don’t mean I’ll be indulging every night – just about as often as I would in any other month plus a little bit more, to get me through. And if this sounds like a big excuse for having pudding tonight, and cheese tomorrow night and wine with both, then yes, you’re absolutely right, it is. And with one and a half jars of brandy butter to get through, I suspect we may be looking at Wet February too.