Being grateful for January

By the time I was 18, I really hated winter. I spent my last cold season in my home state of Michigan just grumbling about how much I didn’t want to be there. Then I left for good.

Even now that I live in the Mid-Atlantic region, winter is my least-favorite season. By the time January arrives, I know it’s going to be cold for three more months, I’m already sick of my winter clothes, and don’t even get me started about all the kale I see on restaurant menus! (I’m sorry, I just don’t like it.)

But this year, I’m resolved not to be the winter grinch, so I searched for the silver lining and came up with ten things to like about January:

  1. The world didn’t end on 12/21/12. The misinterpretation of the Mayan prediction was not true, and I am grateful to be alive in January 2013. (That “2012” movie was pretty fun, though.)
  2. Inaugurations. Every four years, we have a reason to continue celebrating in January. In Washington, where I live, a party spirit pervades the air this week.IMG_0740
  3. The start of the new semester in my teaching job. I look forward to meeting my new group of students and feeling like I have a clean slate with them.
  4. Eating comfort food is okay. Even the healthy eating columns are full of recipes for stews, soups and pasta. We can enjoy the warmth and savoriness of heavier food and find it richly satisfying.Comfort food_109
  5. Catching up on books and movies. With outdoor activities curtailed, and holiday craziness winding down, it’s a good time to curl up with a novel, or have a marathon viewing of Pride & Prejudice.
  6. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. More than just another day off, this is a day to try to give back and be of service to the community.IMG_2315
  7. Starting my new calendar. I still like to keep a paper engagement calendar where I write with ink or pencil. I love the feel of cracking open the new book each year and starting to enter birthdays and appointments.
  8. There’s no one at the beach. January is great time to walk along the shore and have the entire beach all to yourself. Just bundle up!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  9. The days are getting longer. Yes, the mornings are still pretty dark, but we’ve crossed over the hump of the shortest day and the light will increase bit by bit from now until June.
  10. Snow days. There’s no guarantee of snow days where I live. Sometimes two years can go by without one, but that makes it all the more special to wake up to that awesome quiet that comes with a huge snowstorm. I may not like winter, but I enjoy the way all my neighbors talk and laugh while shoveling snow together. There’s a great feeling of camraderie and community at those times.IMG_1052

The month of January is named for the Roman god, Janus, who had two faces. That way, he could look back to the year just finished, and forward to the year just beginning. “Janus” is actually the Latin word for arch, which makes the month of January a kind of doorway for us. Knowing that, I can begin to appreciate how we need to pass through January if we are going to reach the balmier days of spring.

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