• August 30, 2014

I really didn’t find Jan. 21 all that depressing

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Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013 4:30 am

I can’t remember how I was feeling last Monday, but I don’t recall being particularly depressed.

Maybe I should have been feeling low, considering a British psychiatrist had declared that date the most depressing day of the year.

It seems Cliff Arnall was working on a marketing campaign back in 2005, and he created a complex mathematical formula to determine the lousiest day of the year.

The winner, apparently, is Jan. 21.

Several factors go into making that date the stinkiest one on the calendar — depressing winter weather, mounting holiday bills and broken New Year’s resolutions are among them.

In a way, I can see it. The Christmas tree has been taken down and the festive decorations put away. Another new year has started, and for most people, it’s not much different from the last one. Yes, the bills are coming in. And of course, the worst of all days just happens to be a Monday, too.

But really, was Jan. 21 that bad?

Oh, sure. For dyed-in-the-wool Republicans, seeing the president inaugurated for another four years had to cast a bit of a pall over things. But it wasn’t hard to see that one coming — since Nov. 6, anyway.

And it couldn’t have been a great day for fans of the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, who woke up with the realization that their favorites would not be playing in the Super Bowl, after both teams lost the day before.

But for most people, Jan. 21 was just another step in the daily grind — no better or worse than any other Monday.

In reading up about the “most depressing day” on one website, I saw where many people posted that Valentine’s Day took top honors for them.

I’m no psychiatrist, but I think lots of folks have a hard time with that day because it creates unrealistic expectations, especially among new couples. And for single people, the day serves as a painful reminder that society is largely geared toward twosomes.

I’ve been on both sides of that equation, and I can empathize with those who loathe Feb. 14. I’ve been happily married for a few years, but I still feel some of the pressure to make Valentine’s Day special. Fortunately, my wife is pretty easy to please.

Generally speaking, we all have dates on the calendar that we’d just as soon skip — the anniversary of a divorce, the passing of a loved one or even the death of a beloved pet. It’s not uncommon for the date of any traumatic, life-changing event to be indelibly etched in our minds.

But we accept those difficult anniversaries in our lives and move on — as we must.

We also must do the best we can to accept the milder calamities that life tosses our direction. I’ve generally found that most of my “bad days” have more to do with how I perceive the difficult events in my life than the events themselves.

So often, whether we view challenges as obstacles or as opportunities can make all the difference in our moods.

Being more than a bit OCD, it’s not always easy for me to keep from obsessing about the small stuff — and believe me, there’s usually plenty of small stuff to go around.

But the key, I think, is to keep the small stuff from becoming big stuff and obscuring all the truly wonderful things I have to be thankful for.

I don’t know what the coming year holds; nobody does.

But I’m ready to take each day as it comes and try to appreciate them all — regardless of what the mathematical formula says.

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