By the time you read this, Blue Monday will have come and gone. I am not naturally given to deep bouts of philosophical anguish. A simple, oblivious soul by nature, I blithely drift through most days of the calendar, beset by only minimal levels of angst. As a rule, the relentless outrages and dystopian murmurings of the 24-hour news cycle leave me unfazed. I have no fear of Fridays the 13th or the Ides of March. And, though I can’t say I relish them, rainy days and your run-of-the-mill Mondays don’t often get me down. The onset of Blue Monday, however, always fills me with a sense of existential queasiness and low-key dread. It feels as though my soul is drowning in a bowl of lukewarm tapioca. Does that make sense? Is it the same with you?
Originally devised by a UK-based travel service, in the early aughts, as a marketing gimmick for selling midwinter vacation getaways, based on a load of pseudoscience, Blue Monday (usually understood to be the third Monday in January) is commonly deemed to be the single most depressing day of the year. There is a truth to this, at least in the northern hemisphere where the seasonal weather is often at its coldest and bleakest. The feverish golden glow of the holiday season is behind us, a barren terrain of months of grey slush is looming before us. Many of us are financially and emotionally depleted. The liquor shelf is empty, the bills keep flooding in, the cat has a tumour, there’s black mold in the basement, and the sweet, careless joys of summer seem to be a million years away. It’s enough to send even the most stoic and sanguine of us spinning headlong into the mother-of-all-doldrums.
And this year’s version of Blue Monday (two days hence, as I write this) seems especially fraught to me, what with all manner of inflation, stagflation, greedflation, political and environmental devastation, and not nearly enough financial wherewithal to satisfy even my more reasonable temptations and inclinations. Politicians are lying, viruses are mutating, greedy tycoons are rubbing their hands in malevolent glee, and Dickensian employers are demanding the return of miserable, underpaid employees to the infernal, soul sucking mills and pits of capitalist purgatory.
Well, there’s just no point fighting it. For me, there is only one recourse, which is to cut-and-run, escape the bitter world—if only for the day.
So, fuck you Blue Monday! I will continue to make you my bitch, my own personal statutory holiday. I will do what I have done for the last several years, each time the third Monday of the new year rolls around: I will phone in sick, go back to bed, sleep late, smoke a joint, read a book, make a blender of frozen margaritas, and stack my turntable with an afternoon’s worth of Monk, Dylan, Willie, Ella, Louis, Django, and Miles. I will drift in and out of consciousness, dreaming of future sunlight on my face, of the glowing, rose-coloured heart of summer, with its endless parade of kinder, looser, wilder days, drawing closer with each lengthening day, and every passing week.