A modern Essex girl 

Born in Basildon and living in Chelmsford, Nicki Treffers gives us her unique take on life in the county  


Dry January – or Damp January? 

Christmas is a time when we come together to celebrate, dance until our feet blister and eat until our buttons grapple to remain attached by the finest thread of cotton. We spend beyond our means, we rejoice at the delightful presents we have patiently waited for and we feel an inner glow at seeing the excitement of children and grandchildren alike. Throughout December, we drown in festive abundance only to find ourselves washed up on the deserted sands of austere January.  

December 31st is a farewell party not only to the past year, but the past month of play! January, a mean master, waits in the shadows whilst we giggle and gallivant. Come the stroke of midnight, we are summonsed to a 31-day detention centre. We learn by heart our new set of commandments – the rules we promise to abide by: no bingeing, no booze. It’s a time to polish our rusty halo and hope we can redeem ourselves.  

The question is why? Why do we willingly succumb to judgemental January? In the darkest, gloomiest of months we go from feast to famine. We allow ourselves to be governed by societies expectations: lose weight, go to the gym, eat well, spend less. It’s engrained in us that this is how you should behave in the new year, new month, a new you! We surrender our wrists to be cuffed and accept a sad, limited existence, incarcerated by our own thoughts of what we are told we should do

Well, me? I have always been a rule bender; I’m happy to adhere to a degree, but not necessarily by the book. Take Dry January for example, there is no way that I am missing out on a good glass of red on a cold dark Saturday night. Instead, I'll opt for Damp January, a forecast of slight claret-based precipitation over the weekend, with a dry spell Monday to Friday.  

The same can be said for food consumption – the urge for unnecessary fad diets and excess exercise – only to fall off of the wagon at the first sight February. We are all well aware of the economic issues we are facing, nervous about cranking the radiators up by a notch or leaving the lights on. Surely, small edible wins are the only way to get us through this bleak and hard time?  

So, this January, as I don my new prison get-up (pyjamas and slippers), I have made the decision to work on a day-release basis. I will serve my sentence, but I will do it on my terms. I can't say that I regret my indulgent December, but I will try to follow a more righteous path during January. Final thought from my solitary confinement: watch out February, I have done my stretch!