Monday, January 16, 2012

The Most Depressing Day of the Year?


According to a bit of sketchy science, today is supposedly the most depressing day of the year.

Psychologist Cliff Arnall says the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the entire year, dubbing it Blue Monday.

Arnall's formula factors in the weather, time elapsed since Christmas, failed New Year's resolutions, and debt.


The theory has largely been discredited, but it's not difficult to see how Arnall could arrive at that conclusion. Three of my new year's resolutions have met an untimely demise - including a naive hope of blogging four times per week, and drinking less alcohol. With Tebow out of the playoffs, and my favorite GOP candidate folding up shop, today seemed a lot like Blue Monday to me. The only thing more pathetic than this particular Monday is the measly army of dolphins we have defending the Strait of Hormuz.

Lest I seem bluer than usual, I have taken some proactive steps out of the doldrums. For example, Lifehacker suggests that many resolutions fail because we are the saboteurs of our own goals. His solution is a printable online checklist, which admittedly is pretty cool. Another blog I read called "The Art of Manliness" (don't laugh) suggests that the key to increasing willpower is simply a matter of putting in the time to create new habits. I'm not sure that this idea is limited only to the manly, but it makes sense to me that better habits beget a temperate lifestyle.

So, in hopes of developing new habits, and in celebration of the somewhat new year, I'm glad to finally share my list of new year's resolutions, including the one's I've already broken, and only three weeks late. For the tech savvy, the full list can be found here, courtesy of a nifty website called, which allows users to develop lockable lists for long-term goals. For everyone else, below is a more structured summary, divided into categories for your perusal:


Read the Bible in one year - I did this fairly consistently during high school. But in college I more or less became a little heathen as kids are prone to do. Needless to say, I could stand to gain from such wisdom on a more frequent basis.

Go through Confirmation - My wife and I have attended an Episcopal Church for over a year here in Tucson. The denomination's commitment to "scripture, reason and tradition" is increasingly where I feel most at home theologically. I hope to formalize what I already believe through the rite of Confirmation.

Memorize the Nicene Creed - We recite this creed nearly every week. And nearly every week I feebly turn to the Book of Common Prayer to supplement my lack of memorization. This needs to change before my neighbors in the surrounding pews start to notice.


Blog four times per week - This unfortunate resolution needs to be amended to blogging twice a week. With a dissertation in the works, it's become nearly impossible to blog as often as I once did. My hope is that quality posts will compensate for a lack of quantity.

Finish ten new book reviews - Last year, I introduced a bimonthly book review. This year, my goal is to complete ten of these. I think this is realistic depending upon the supply of material available from publishers.


Complete my dissertation in time for Spring Graduation - After some 22 years of education, it's time to give school a rest.

Find gainful employment - Gainful is an interesting word. Its common usage relates to wealth or profitability. A secondary use relates to an increase in resources, and productivity. I would be happy with a job that encompasses either definition.

Move back to OK - Barring a big change in plans, and with only slight trepidation, I plan to make this the year that I return to my home state, and begin some form of a career - hopefully in academia.


Ride my bike twice per week - This goal hasn't happened in the new year either. But with a newly minted bike computer on my desk, I expect to resume riding in the near future.

Drink less alcohol - In College, we would jokingly proclaim, "die liver, die!" before a night out. But rumor has it, I may need my liver later in life. With age 30 knocking at the door, it's probably time that I punish my body less.

Reclaim my high school weight - I won't say how much I once weighed, but I will say that married life has ably dealt a blow to my younger, more active self. Aside from weight loss, I hope to make fitness in general a bigger priority.


Finish War and Peace - I've begun Tolstoy's master work no less than four times. And each time it has defeated my will to power through. This time, I'll be armed with a reading plan that coincides with Lent.

Finish The Brothers Karamazov - My wife and I had hope to finish The Brothers Karamazov together in November. Somewhere between Thanksgiving and early December, we abandoned our plan. With a little over halfway to go, this should be easily attainable.

Save money for a celebratory vacation - After getting married in mid-August 2009, my wife and I immediately made the long move to Arizona. Alas, being but poor students, we weren't able to take a honeymoon. With my SJD nearing completion, we plan to finally take a trip somewhere - if only we can set aside a few greenbacks.


Benjamin said...

I have a hard time believing that your candidate dropped out of the GOP race. I mean, there's always Romney. Besides, Huntsman is to Romney as Mario is to Super Mario. You just were going for mini-Romney, anyway.

I have a sneaking suspicion that November 7th will be the saddest day of the year for you (if only because you'll be buying me steak dinner).

By the way, if you finish your first two fitness goals, you will accomplish the third as a matter of course. Cheers to that :).

Tory said...

Too true, Ben-Ha-Mean. Alas, it's goals #1 and #2 that are the problem :)

I was disappointed about Huntsman, but I saw the writing on the wall after NH. In fact, I've already made my contribution to the Romney Campaign. I think it's time for the party to start uniting behind him and focus on beating Obama.

Your steak dinner is riding on the weakest incumbent President in modern history. I like the odds of your visit to Oklahoma.

If you're nice, and sufficiently contrite, I might even allow your visit to coincide with Thanksgiving :)

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