When the Romans weren’t busy building aqueducts and drinking lots of wine, they took time out to create a unifying calendar system. After all, it’s impossible to run an empire if everyone can’t agree on something as basic as what day is Wednesday. Can you imagine the chaos? It would’ve been like the U.S. Congress, only more Italian.
January is named after the Latin word for door— ianua. Since the month is the door into the new year, the Romans thought Ianuarius was a fitting name. While I’m not inclined to disagree with the dead guys that created the calendar, I must say that I don’t think that January is the most forgiving of months.
I have several reasons for this assessment. First of all, if you’re like me, your body is still recovering from the holiday food onslaught which seems to begin earlier each year. While I eagerly inhale a pumpkin spice muffin in October, by the end of December, my colon makes me drop the damn sugar cookie and back away from the cheese ball. And it really doesn’t take no for an answer. Just like Donald Trump.
I’m sure you feel that post-holiday sluggishness, too. That knot that forms in your stomach when you force down that last stuffed mushroom off the plate. But, you have to eat it, right? It looks lonely on the platter all by itself.
These cold and dreary January days don’t inspire feats of achievement, either. You may tell yourself to go to the gym, but you’re more likely to sit on your ass and watch The Bachelor while wearing the ugly Christmas pajamas your in-laws gave you. No need to hide it, I know you want to see how many girls Nick Viall can shag before the season is over.
Yes, January inspires laziness. Last week it was rainy and gloomy— like much of this month has been— and I decided to drink milk that was three days beyond its expiration date just so I could avoid going to the store. (Don’t worry, I did smell the milk first.)
But, for me, the biggest challenge of the month is of the cold and flu variety. I find it distressing to know that there are enough cooties floating around in January to fill the Hindenburg. It’s not unusual to find me shirking away from hugs and kisses during this time, and cleaning my cell phone with rubbing alcohol and a Q-Tip.
I realize I sound obsessive-compulsive. But, if you only had one functional lung, you’d be just as freaked out as I am. A little cold can quickly turn into pneumonia for the elderly, or disabled folks like me. So, think about that when you venture out into public when you are sick. You never know how far your germs may reach.
And on that uplifting note, have a happy January. But, for goodness sake, wash your hands!