January birthdays are the worst

January 28, 2020

 Image courtesy of Cassie Dickman

 

Birthdays are meant to be an exciting time to celebrate, go out with friends and have a good time. Not for those of us born in January.

 

We’ve already been through the stress of Auntie Janet demanding what you want as a Christmas gift and now you have to go through it all over again a few weeks later. I am always left out of ideas so receive the classic pair of socks. Sometimes you also get the joy of receiving a re-gifted Christmas present still in its original Christmas wrapping. I appreciate it can be a challenge buying for someone else, but the January sales are full of options and the least you could do is re-wrap it in something a little less festive. However, the worst has to be the joint present. With Christmas so close, there’s no point in spending extra money on a second present, so some just buy one, claim it cost more and pass it off as a gift for both occasions. Everyone else receives separate presents for Christmas and their birthday, why shouldn’t we? Getting a singular haul of unwanted gifts only once a year leaves us struggling for the other eleven months. If in desperate need of a laptop replacement because it gave up on you in the middle of essay season, there’s no hope in asking for it as present; we have to fork out and buy it with the remainder of our overdraft.

 

Of course, receiving gifts only happens if people actually remember that it’s your birthday. Not everyone has updated their new calendars yet, so January has been and gone by the time people finally transfer birthdays across to their diary. By this point, it’s too late. They assure you that they will remember your birthday next time, but year after year nothing changes.

 

Having said this, we are guaranteed one special gift without failure: the most depressing day of the year. Blue Monday, this year falling on January 20th, is the one highlight of the month. Even if we are happy celebrating yet another year of life, everyone else is full of doom and gloom. This makes it near impossible to have a good time with friends and family. People don’t have the money or motivation to go out. After blowing their last pennies on New Year and with the extended hangover, nobody is up for splashing out in town. Even if we do manage to convince a small crowd to go for a few drinks, there is always that one friend doing ‘Dry January’ and completely ruins the night by being sensible. Birthdays are one of the few times where it is acceptable to get absolutely smashed; but Sober Sally always has to make sure that everyone drinks in moderation because she doesn’t want to be left out of the fun.

 

Alongside this are the dreaded new year resolutions. It’s impossible to have them and not break them within the first 4 weeks. I can promise you that I won’t be going for that twenty-minute run on my birthday and, if there is chocolate, I will one hundred percent be eating it all. There goes that exercise plan and healthy eating. You have failed before you have even started. January birthdays prohibit us from starting the New Year in the best way we had hoped to.

 

On top of this, the weather is always awful. Sunny days in January are very rare, so we’re used to the grey clouds, howling wind and ice-cold rain. Nearly every birthday I am full of a cold and struggling to breathe through my nose. Or I’ll be coughing and spluttering during the awkward rendition of Happy Birthday being sung by my parents.

 

So next time you celebrate your birthday with glorious sunshine and a bunch of happy, tipsy friends, take a moment to think of us unfortunate ones who were born in January, because it truly is the worst time of year to have a birthday.

 

Disclaimer: I actually had a great birthday this year and socks are always a very useful gift

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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