Monday, January 21, 2008

The worst day of the year?

I tend to avoid anything that starts with the words IT'S OFFICIAL!!!, but apparently today was officially the worst day of the year. Part of me thinks that seeing as we're only a couple of weeks in, how can THEY be sure - but another part of me thinks it's probably a good idea to get the worst day out of the way, and we can get down to fifty weeks of partying and cocktails on the verandah at sunset. But wait - it seems there's something behind this bold claim. Today (Monday the 21st of January) is the nastiest on the calendar for a series of compounding reasons. "Cold weather, dark, short days, credit card bills, faded Christmas memories and failed New Year's resolutions can all conspire to get us down as January rolls on", according to the massed ranks of boffins at AOL's Lifestyle faculty (I kid you not).

Well, firstly, today was unfeasably terrible weather-wise in Edinburgh, with typically Scottish heavy driving rain all day. I tend to judge wet days on how much of my jeans get soaking from the ground up - and we were almost halfway to the knee on the way home tonight. But then you lives in Scotland, you takes your chance. I've just seen the forecast for tomorrow, and it's going to be frosty and bright all day. Take that, AOL! (what is AOL, anyway?). However, I have to give them the dark short days, once you get past the business end of September the sun becomes a distant memory up here. Credit card bills are the next thing on the list - the significance of today being it's scientifically the furthest from the splurges of Christmas before you get the cushioning of the first payday of the year. In my case, my meagre NHS pittance just about covers the bills - and how could I watch tomorrow's positive weather forecast without a sale-purchased High-Def 32 inch Samsung LCD television?? (ahem)

'Faded Christmas memories' are an interesting one. The worst thing about Christmas - Dr Who Special notwithstanding - is when it's all over and you leave your family to head back to work, so for me the worst part of that is the first day back at work, not a date three weeks after. Anyway, it was less than a month ago, you would have needed to polish off a serious amount of Advocaat to have the memories faded already. I have Christmas memories from twenty years ago built up, to fall back on. Those happy days of playing with AT-AT's and TCR racing sets (whisper it, but they were better than Scalextric). The only faded part of Christmas I have is the office party, which given my outstanding dancing, is possibly a good thing. I do remember a large circle with me in the middle, and lots of high-fives with various members of the IT help desk. Hmmm...

Finally, AOL mention failed New Year's resolutions. Well, I've never made one in my life - I always thought they were really pointless, unless you felt you should be considering changing something you really didn't want to change, in which case they are ideal. Make it your resolution, and in a couple of weeks you'll have stopped (or started again), and a few weeks after that nobody will care as the media and television will have moved onto Valentines Day. A perfect escape plan. There's a reason that the most expensive time of the year to join a gym is the first week of January. Unsurprisingly, the AOL article is bordered by all kinds of helpful links to career, dating, holiday websites - your brand new resolution, only a click away. Take it from me, just keep doing what you're doing, it's more fun.

Speaking of fun, I was thinking what I've been doing today - which for me was simply a normal day at work - to make the evil 21/01 pass off a bit better. Firstly, I spent most of the day listening to music - nobody can have a bad day at work if they can listen to their favourite tunes. Checking the news makes it obvious there are plenty of people having genuinely 'worst days' compared to your wet shoes and pointless spreadsheets*. Getting away is a default option for making things better - ironically one that AOL also mention (although they have a massive advert for a holiday company). Think about where you were last year, and where you'll be this year, and how they are going to be different. For example, I took the photo above in Tokyo last October, and all I have to do is look at it to bring back all the memories. The final way I have of getting rid of the blues of Monday the 21st is to take Tuesday the 22nd off, so I can brighten up thinking about my half day under the duvet tomorrow, and the other half in front on the Xbox. Chin up!

* DUaB would like to point out that NHS spreadsheets are not pointless in any way - they are informative, useful, and a key aspect of delivering statistical evaluations of core NHS services.

AOL Lifestyle: Brighten up the worst day of the year