I Wish That We Could Start All Over

January was, I’d decided by the last day of the month, actually the final month of 2019, trying its worst to end us by any means possible. It was the only explanation for how hard the month had become that I’d accept; 2020 was to be a better year, dammit, so the only explanation for January’s weight could be that it had actually been co-opted by last year, infected for a last-minute final attack like in a horror movie. Just when you thought you were safe!

It’s not that any one thing was so terrible, per se — well, the dogs disappearing to California without either warning or goodbye, thanks to my selfish ex-wife; that was — but more a confluence of events: my being sick for so long quietly, before it erupted into proper sickness; a workload that stayed stuck at oppressive, somehow; visiting family, which isn’t terrible for any reason other than the lack of privacy and downtime it affords you. Things like that.

January didn’t try to take me down in one fell swoop, but fought a war of attrition, hacking away at me so that I was so exhausted and just plain done that I’d eagerly give in just for a moment’s peace, not that anything like that was on the menu. All of which, again, felt like 2019’s shitty playbook.

And the thing is, it wasn’t just me. I’d talk to others, send supportive messages to friends and acquaintances who were also having overly turbulent months for a multitude of reasons. January, it seemed, had it in for almost all of us. Perhaps it saw us as sacrificial lambs to get the year started with the appropriate amount of bloodletting.

The month finished with a day in which Britain left the European Union, President Trump got all-but-acquitted in his impeachment trial thanks to some spectacular cowardice on behalf of the Republican Party, and I spent literally hours editing and correcting a transcript of a 42 minute call for work. It felt as clear a sign as any that January 2020 was less a month than an emotional assassin that has been quietly taking us on without a word, trying to wear us out before a final blow.

As far as I’m concerned, the year is actually starting with February this year. We’re all getting a do-over. Let’s hope this month is kinder, as well as shorter.

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