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If you’re reading this, you’ve survived the first week of the new decade. And maybe you’re feeling a little chilly and morose, staring down winter after the holidays. Here are some tips for making the best of it.
1. Try staying home from a party for once in your life
A whole new world is here, and it’s called January. After six weeks of Friendsgivings and Thanksgivings and office and client and industry holiday parties and family gatherings and New Year’s debauchery (not judging), you’ve awoken to a frigid peace, sprinkled with sodden confetti and desiccated pine needles. Your only obligations now besides work are all the outreach and meetings you put off until you had “survived the holidays.”
2. Find your gratitude
If it rains in January—hell, if there’s a drizzle or even a fog shrouding the top of the Comcast centers—stop and offer gratitude to any and all higher powers you happen to ascribe such explicit grace to. If it were a few degrees colder, the city would be paralyzed by a two-inch snowpocalypse: working parents scrambling to care for kids home from school; flabbergasted buses limping down perilous streets (if SEPTA is running at all); neighbors who never heard of shoveling or, even worse, make you feel lazy and beholden by quickly shoveling your sidewalk as well as their own. Give thanks for rain, which requires nothing but an umbrella and a little decorous complaining.
3. Cancel all dieting-related marketing and resolutions
January can be a hard season for anyone who struggles with body image. One of the first things I saw on Twitter in 2020 was a promoted ad for an “intermittent fasting” program—also known as a potential gateway to seriously disordered eating in the name of weight loss. Marketing for juice, broth, or tea “cleanses;” body transformation kick-offs; and an amazing variety of unproven restrictive diets feast upon our feelings of guilt for enjoying cookies in December. But January is as good a time as any to simply live in the body you have. Eat for nutrition, energy, and enjoyment. Move your body in ways that feel good. Beware of any campaign featuring diagrams of headless female forms whose stomach, arms, and thighs glow red to remind you they always ought to be smaller. Ignore shame-based regimens that conflate personal value and thinness.
4. Do something new
Feeling drab? I recently mixed up my usual habit of perusing galleries with artist statements on stuff like “the potentiality of time” and accepted an invitation to a birthday party at Round One Bowling & Amusement in the new Fashion District. The place was boiling with teenagers tilting on virtual motorcycles, the whoosh of air hockey tables, the clacking of pool, and the constant clatter of pins bashed and gulped in the maw of the bowling alley. Food orders blared over the pounding music and casino cacophony of the arcade. I had a Shock Top draft, belted Whitney Houston and Billie Eilish karaoke, and bowled a game in which I earned a total of 29 points (because I took my cute date’s advice about how to not hurl my ball right into the gutter every round). In short, I had a really fun time, and I think you should try something new, too.
5. Live in the moment
I know, easier said than done—but instead of waiting grimly for daylight and decent weather, think of everything terrible about spring and summer. Mosquitos. Sunblock in your eyes. The feculent smell of blooming Bradford pears. Pedicycle bachelor-party pub crawls in Center City. Tent-caterpillar nests. Packed street festivals full of strollers and overheated dogs in bandanas, garrulous vendors who make you feel weird about browsing silently for a minute, and waiting in long lines laced with food-truck exhaust for a $7 snack. Enjoy January while you can, and it’ll be over in no time.
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