January is a doomed month. Cold and miserly and strangely stunted for a month with thirty-one days. That’s not what dooms it, of course. Its downfall is that it’s destined to be a month of beginnings. Sure, we like beginnings. We glorify them as great things, but ultimately, we start so many more things than we ever finish, that it hardly matters where or when a thing starts. And when something fails, either with a whimper or a catastropher, its starting point looks a lot less glorious. That’s what taints January.
After all, up to 25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Something like 60% of all new restaurants fail within a year. Diets crash and burn on a near weekly basis. The new job turns into a suckfest, and the new marriage sours three years in.
I know there’s this huge pressure, both internal and external, to make big changes in the new year. This is the year you’re going to find an agent! This is the year you’re going to apply for better jobs! You’re gonna lose that weight! Sell that screenplay! Go back to school! Meet someone special! Learn Chinese!
Which is cool, but right now, I’m gonna offer you a reprieve. Right now, I’m saying, it’s okay not to start something new this week. Today doesn’t have to be the first day of the rest of your life. It’s okay if you don’t send out query letters today or sign up for that dating website or do PX30. I’m giving you permission to wait. I’m telling you that it’s okay to feel wobbly and unsure this week. If you’re feeling tired and overwhelmed by being back at work today, I understand. You don’t have to go off the big board into the deep end. You can just get into the pool from the steps in the shallow end. It won’t matter if you didn’t start today, as long as you finish.