That Wretched ‘New-Year Smell’

At the start of February I feel so different than when the year is brand-new. Can it be that the ‘new-year smell’ is an unfortunate illusion? Could it be that we need to ground ourselves in what is real rather than distant dreams?

To me, the ‘new-year smell’ means being uprooted for a few unnerving weeks. I am floating in the air thinking madly about things I could be doing, talents I could take up, egged on by the twelve fresh months ahead of me.

The ‘new-year smell’ is a cruel trick: few resolutions are carried out. Even when they are, they take longer than we are prepared for on January 1.

‘has the mail come yet?’ by me

February 1 is a relief; the ‘new-year smell’ has gone, leaving fresh soil for me to take root in. I know what I’m capable of doing at this moment. I’ve given myself permission to let go of books that don’t engross me–life is too short to read something you don’t love. I am making friends who help me spiritually.

If you’re still battling the ‘new-year smell,’ that sense of uncertainty about what you should be doing versus what you could be doing…I recommend you do what you would have done six months ago in 2021.

Think about it–the only thing that has really changed is the number on the calendar. This does not mean there is increased pressure on you to become a star or get married (or both.)

‘what a sunny day’ by me

What have I learned one month into 2022? Nothing too impressive.

1- I discovered a desire to paint the lovely things of nature. It started with flowers; now I’m trying to get used to the movements required to draw birds. A couple of birds I drew look good. My most recent was too colorful, so I will need to practice him a bit more.

2- I am much better at sketching than painting. A pencil and some decent paper are all that I need to draw the shapes of my subjects (in this case, birds.) I’ve been sketching for much longer, though I never intended to make it a serious hobby; some things come in useful over time!

3- I underestimate myself. I wrote an essay related to something non-fiction and was nervous that it might sound childish, but it was received well. I’m fairly sure that, a month from now, I’ll be better at drawing colorful birds. It’s a matter of practice and routine.


We all underestimate ourselves. We can achieve what we want, if only we put in the time and effort. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do or be? Trust me—you can do anything if you’re willing to be humble and learn. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

What are your goals this month?

3 thoughts on “That Wretched ‘New-Year Smell’

  1. I think we build January up to be some kind of terrible month just because the holiday season is over and it tends to drag on compared to the previous months . This is the first year in a long time I actually had no negative feelings towards January and so I’m ready to take February by the horns! I love your artwork, it’s really coming along!

  2. Goals this month – relax mostly; life can require a lot, and making sure I had everything ready to go for Sorceress of the Dryads on time got hectic. I don’t have quite everything ready at the moment, but I have everything ESSENTIAL done, and everything else can be done at a more relaxed pace as necessary.

    So, launch my book on the 22nd of February, and DO A LITTLE BIT (but don’t get too caught up in it) to market my 99cent sale on the prequel – Children of the Dryads. Really, I don’t care if I don’t get any art or writing done this month (though I probably will anyways).

  3. “New-Year smell” is such a good way to describe this! In the past I’ve found myself overwhelmed to the point of inertia by the possibilities of a new calendar year. January is such an empty month for other activities – everybody’s partied out by Christmas and/or New Year, gardens are dormant, the weather’s duff – so there’s little else to do but imagine everything afresh.
    I wonder how those in the Southern Hemisphere feel about this? It’s in the middle of their summer.

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