The Laughing Toastmaster: No More January Blues!
Here’s Your Happiness Booster
I love January! It’s my favourite month of the year, providing me with endless hours of joy and happiness, without even having a drink. Although I do drink. I leave ‘Dry January’ in the Sahara Desert, where it belongs.
And no, I have not relocated to sunny Australia (where it’s summer and everyone is hot). I live in miserable London, where January resembles a bowl of old porridge; cold and grey, with a thick skin of despair forming over it.
I wasn’t always this jubilant. In the past, I too believed in the sanctity of ‘The January Blues’. Its arrival would have me moaning, head spinning and green projectile vomiting (think Linda Blair in the EXORCIST), after being possessed by the ‘non-stop food and alcohol consumption’ demon.
This was not a good look. Certainly not for a Toastmaster! January is one of the most important months in our calendar year! We welcome our new members, meet and mentor our mentees, mitigate our mentors’ mammoth motivations and manage and maximize our meetings. It’s up to us to create a happy, positive environment where there’s no room for burdensome, bothersome blues.
What to do? Well, my life changed when my German grandmother (Oma) took pity on me and disclosed the secret of transforming January into a Danish Hygge (concept of cosines), with a tiny Teutonic touch.
All one has to do is follow three simple steps during this long winter month:
- Eat apple strudel.
- Read the German classics (OK, maybe skip this one).
- Avoid comparisons. Unless they bring you joy.
Whatever you think of the Germans (I think they’re terrific!), no other nation has taken so much time and energy exploring the nature of the human spirit. (*) Hence my Oma’s advice.
Feeling guilty because you’ve drunk too much? In fact, it’s January the 15th and you’re still drinking? Don’t fret! I wait for recycling day and take a peek at my neighbour’s empty bottles and count: prosecco (12), wine (10), vodka (3), plus so many beers I lose track. Yuppie!! Some people really have a drinking problem! Better open that Rioja bottle to celebrate!
Does your body look like something out of ‘SWAMP THING’ the movie? Mine does. I’m wearing loungewear (a.k.a. old baggy sweats) because nothing else fits! Do I panic and go on one of those stupid detox diets? Of course not. Instead, I google the adorably successful MICHELIN MAN and think, ‘Curves are Cool’! As for my cellulite? Well, I always wanted dimples.
You’re broke. Skint, wiped, ruined, in the red, NO DINERO. Even the ‘Save The Dolphin’ card refused your application.
This situation used to drive me into a frenzied shopping spree that would leave me even more in debt and feeling terribly guilty. Thanks to my Oma’s advice, I now shop like I have millions! Because guess what? It’s not MY PROBLEM anymore! As any banker will tell you (trust me, I was a banker):
‘If you owe a small amount of money, you worry about the bank.’
‘If you owe a copious amount of money, the bank worries about you!’
As the old saying goes, ‘You can’t take it with you’ and that includes debt.
Over Christmas, you realize everyone else is better off? Hear, hear! My older sister has just bought her second home, my little sister is in the Bahamas and my brother’s third book on surfing has just been published. I was the one that told him he should write the first one! Does he remember? So I can get some royalties? Nope. Not even a, ‘THANK YOU SISTER I OWE YOU MY LIFE’.
Do I mope, blame it on January and fall into a deep depression? No, I do not. What I do is drive to a ‘Welcome Break’ (those along the M1 are my personal favourites) and watch the world go by. Parents fighting, children screaming, grandparents staring aghast, horrified at what they’ve created. It’s a glorious reminder that compared to many a soul in the human race – I’m winning!
Finally, are you freezing cold? Call someone in Scotland and you’ll feel delightfully euphoric and radiantly warm!
In January, follow my Oma’s advice. Because you’re a winner!
(*) For almost 400 years, the German novel has used everything from history to philosophy to explore the nature of the human spirit.