January, you have been cold, dark and dreary, but I expected that. I fought your darkness with the fire of my ambition – starting a million challenges at once (well, OK, three) – new job, 30 days without alcohol, and the 30 day blogging challenge: Zero to Hero.
You must have laughed to see me huddled over my desk, drinking tea in the dim light, listening to the rain pouring a steady stream of cold water over the whole of the disillusioned population of Manchester, as they dreamed their small dreams – of sunshine, warmth, cheer; just one glass of wine/bar of chocolate/day without exercise. You sent hail to beat them down when they had the least resistance, tempting them back into the bad habits they were trying to give up, smiling triumphantly as you drove them back to their small comforts.
My fiery ambition was not enough to melt your misery, even though I was successful in all of my challenges. I managed over 3 weeks without alcohol, the new job was fabulous, and I gained lots of lovely new followers for my blog as well as making some great discoveries on WordPress. But January, even though you didn’t break my resolve, you knew that this was cold comfort, as you enveloped me in your Weather; your sombre skies and pervasive atmosphere of gloomy exhaustion. I could have won the lottery and I would still have felt depressed.
You may have had the last laugh this year, but wait until next year – for now, I have a new secret weapon.
It came to me this morning, as February made its entrance, whispering sweet promises in my ear – speaking to me of hearts and flowers and a bridge over to Spring. I woke to find my husband gone, his car disappeared
‘He’s left me,’ I thought dolefully (a January thought) until the sound of the door opening made me jump.
‘Happy Birthday!’ he said (although it isn’t my birthday for a few weeks yet), handing me a huge box.
It was a light box, to blast away the winter gloom. I have had 2 hours of ‘light therapy’ so far, bathing my eyes in its brilliant light. My SAD is gone. I can still hear the wind whistling around the house, but inside it is as if the daylight I have been waiting for these 6 long months, is finally here. I don’t want to turn it off and leave the house.
My husband, who grew up peering through the permanent drizzle of the Welsh countryside, is dazzled by the unreasonable brightness of this light
‘I think I have LAD,’ he says, shielding his eyes ‘Light Affective Disorder.’
He may be a ‘lad’, but he is thoughtful and wonderful, and has just handed me the tools to beat you. He may find the light too bright, but January so will you – and next year, I will banish you from my house, where it will be perennially light. Like August in Spain…my little haven away from the dread winter gloom.