It’s The Little January Things…

by Irene Falvey
Taylor Magazine Minimalist guide to life

It is quite possible that many of us are approaching the month of January incorrectly. But, that’s the thing about January isn’t it? It is regarded as something that has to be taken in a certain way, we have to withstand it and hopefully defeat it. The overall pessimism which surrounds this month can frequently result in people only looking to the point beyond it. I think that this stems from our culture’s need for anticipation. From November onwards the general population overflows with it. So when January swings round and everything that we looked forward to arrives at a halt- what else can we do but transfer our anticipation elsewhere? Our minds become muddled with the possibilities of the future- that we will be happier, thinner more productive. We will feel the way we want to in the ambiguous then, never in the underappreciated now.

The notion of time within January becomes a threatening thing- so much so that we try to “kill some time”. Now, when you really think about this expression does it not sound kind of violent? That time is actually a foe and not a friend? While most people rely on anticipation as the way out of the January blues- some people accept it for what it is and fill it with things they simply don’t enjoy- like diets, budgets, unkempt resolutions and empty wine glasses. These attempts are keeping in with what is generally considered to be the glum tone of this month- if it’s going to be tough you might as well keep it that way.

And I have to confess- I’m really not much different to most people when it comes to this dreaded month.  I don’t think a January has gone by in which I haven’t suddenly felt like I needed to have a life make over. No matter how productive the year before was, suddenly all of my hard work seems to count for little and I must commence a new way of living to have a prosperous year. So, yes I make resolutions and yes I have made many plans for February and March “to get me through” January.  However, I think we all generally place too much focus on seeking out happiness from what we can change and plan. But what about those wonderful things that unintentionally come about that make us happy without any hard work?

The following are examples of little things I have no control over but bring me abundant joy when they happen. And you don’t need much money/time/skill for them. And lastly- they can all even happen in January – Imagine that!

So here are some things which bring a smile to my face:  

Finding money in my pocket:

Shoving my hands into my pockets as a last resort to the January cold, I feel something strange through my protective gloves. What’s that? A tenner? I have never felt so rich! Although this amount of cash is hopefully in my bank account, finding cash just makes it seem like so much more than it is! Whatever I manage to buy with this money is cherished and enjoyed twice as much as normal, not misplaced cash.

The arrival of a bus:  

Commuting is a bothersome thing. Both missing and waiting for the bus can send me into equal fits of commuter stress. Buses turn stress relieving running into a thing of panic- running to catch the bus or worse running and missing the bus. The ideal bus catching scenario is to leisurely walk to the stop and then to just catch it coming for you out of the corner of your eye. No stress running, no half hour waits. The simplicity of this can really perk up my day.

That extra surprise lurking at the bottom of the biscuit packet:

Occasionally, I will be in a bit of a biscuit dilemma. I will be aware all day that there is merely one stingy biscuit left and be at odds as to what I should do. Do I really want to go all the way to the shops just to have two biscuits instead of one? Shouldn’t one be just enough? Usually, when I have a drop of will power I would decide that yes it is, but my disappointment still lurks somewhere in my mind. But hey- what’s this? I have made a miscalculation- there are still two left. Biscuit equilibrium has been restored and all is right with the world.

Making a film choice:

Watching movies is a hobby of mine. Probably a hobby I practise a little too often but how and ever … As a film lover obviously Netflix and my low sense of moral concerning downloaded films has opened up a lot of opportunities for me. Yet sometimes the choice is stifling. On the worst occasions, I think I can spend up to half the length of a film trying to successfully pick one to watch. It’s quite the time wasting dilemma. Every once in a while I will check what’s on good old fashioned TV. And sometimes amidst the mediocrity, a cracker jack of a film will be on. And then I can rest easily for the rest of the day knowing that I have an hour and a half of cinematic pleasure awaiting me at the end of the day.    

A weekend white wine habit:

After years of trying out and messing around with my drink of choice- it has found me- it’s a simple white wine. There are obvious reasons to pick white wine such as the taste/ mellow mood enhancers – all in all it’s a fabulous drink – yet not a resilient one. It is white wine’s weakness which makes it an everyday winner though. At such a merry time as the weekend a bottle of white wine is opened without even considering its lack of longevity.  So when the remnants of a bottle of white are found on a wan Monday or Tuesday evening it evolves into something much more delightful than a weekend wine session. The single glass becomes something much more symbolic and significant. It calls up the memories of a happy weekend past and acts as a reminder that the weekend in all its freedom will always return.

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