Today is Blue Monday, thought by many to be the most depressing day of the year due to being smack dab in the middle of winter and conveniently located in the post-holiday comedown, mere weeks after New Year's Eve when a good portion of everyone's resolutions have gone out the window and the Christmas credit card bills have landed in our inboxes.
A year ago this time I was living in Toronto, working about 50 hours a week to save money to move to London. I had this goal in my head and I knew that I would do everything to reach it, but I had also stopped caring about it, too.
Winters in Toronto are bleak. The days are short and rarely offer any daylight, temperatures dip to around -20, sometimes -30 degrees celsius with the windchill, and aside from leaving the house to go to work, people rarely find the energy to make an effort at being social and seeking out the connections that we as humans desperately need.
I had started 2016 feeling positive. I was excited to move, to leave behind the city that I had so long despised and put up with, but as the first few weeks of the year passed by, the grips of my anxiety and depression took hold.
I don't need to get into it. I don't need to relay my symptoms to strangers of the internet in order to humanize myself or get a message across, especially because I don't think feeling these things makes me unique or who I am in any way. All I will say is that it felt like my brain had turned against me. I woke up feeling like my mind was a house on fire and my body didn't have the energy to put it out.
And I'm sure there are plenty of reasons behind why I felt that way then, or five years prior, or this past summer. Life throws us curveballs, but it also doesn't owe us anything. Any sort of lessons we are meant to glean from the ups and downs of mere living are entirely self-imposed, and yet I think it's wise that we force ourselves to carry those lessons around anyway.
Last year, on Blue Monday and the days around it, I felt blue. And I felt red, and black, and grey too. I was lost and enraged and tired and scared, but I was also on the edge of a major change, standing at the beginning of a year that I'll look back on when I'm nearly senile and know was terribly difficult and terrifically important. I knew things had to change, and instead of staying stagnant in those cycling moods for much longer, I let the change begin.
If you're sitting in this Blue Monday thinking about how shit everything is, how you're ready to give up, asking yourself, "what's the point?" my one piece of advice would be to really, really live inside that frustration, but only until the day is done. Tomorrow, if you're as sick and tired as I was, start changing. Don't put it off any longer. Realize that there is nothing holding you back from your own life from you. I know that sounds incredibly cliché, but I can tell you with the certainty of someone who began their life from the bottom six months ago and then worked, sometimes begrudgingly, to build it up ... that that cliché is very, very true.
Let Blue Monday have its moment, and then leave it behind. 'Cause I'm sick of hearing everybody complain, OK?