There's this fantastic reference book that I quite love--it's called Chase's Calendar of Events. Essentially, it's a catalog of every day of the year, and anything and everything, remotely important (and otherwise) associated with that day. Birthdays of famous people (death anniversaries, too), lunar events, historical events, national holidays, (inter)national whatever months and weeks and days, inconsequential things (think National Cheese Lover's Day--no, wait, that's actually very important.) I love perusing this reference book, because overall, while I usually rather enjoy this life, I'm always looking for silly, fun ways to jazz up my daily existence.
Recently, when idly flipping through Chase's, I came across a rather intriguing date:
January 21: Blue Monday.
Apparently, it's the saddest day of the year, based on some math-y equation that factors in variables such as weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, days since Christmas and New Year's (and the corresponding resolutions that are probably faltering, blah blah blah). Basically, on that particular Monday, we are assumed to be disillusioned, in debt, and stuck in the doldrums of winter, and therefore, at our saddest. Stuff and nonsense! I say. I mean, if you want to be blue and miserable, that's totally your prerogative, and your feelings are valid, etc. etc. But as for me--the doldrums of winter are almost my very favorite time of year! What's not to love? While we had a little bit of cold sunshine during the day, by the time I left work, it was below freezing, and the heavy, gloomy clouds had regrouped and crowded in. Home beckoned, warm and cozy, and I was happy to get there and curl up in my armchair and listen to the wind moan.
We had some snow last weekend, and when I left for work on Monday morning, there was still plenty of snow, all around. It didn't trouble me a jot, stuffed into my heated car as I was, and of course, I rather loved looking at the snowscape and the cloudy skies and relished how safe and cozy I felt. But it made me pause and ponder: the ability to enjoy winter is, in and of itself, a privilege and a luxury. I need not worry about a lack of food, or being exposed to the cold. I have the resources to acquire more sustenance, and the concept of a poor harvest isn't something that troubles me. I have shelter and warmth, and am never exposed to the elements for a prolonged period of time in my travels. Briefly, I tried to imagine my ancestors in Indiana, back in the 1820s and 30s and 40s--there were no roads, really, and the only modes of transportation they had to get about wouldn't have kept them warm. There weren't necessarily reliable sources of food, beyond what they themselves could provide. I've no doubt that my great-great-great-grandparents did not look on these snowscapes with pleasure.
I also have no doubt that my great-great-great-grandparents knew what a Blue Monday in January really was.