I awoke early yesterday morning, and a nice man on the television told me that, according to careful, scientific studies, “This was the most depressing day of the year.”
“How can this be?” I wondered. “How do they know that any one day is so much worse than another – for everybody?”
Then he explained that this was the first work day in the first full work week of the new year. The holidays are over, and now all we have are stale, leftover cookies and bills we cannot pay for things we do not need. The winter is upon us. The skies are gray and the snow is piling up. There is nothing left for us to do but to hibernate in our sadness.
I could feel my heart cry with every word he said. I felt like pulling the covers over my head and staying in bed until spring. I thought about how the deep cover of snow burdened us: how we had to dig through it just to get out of the house; and how, when piled up, it created walls and barriers, holding us prisoner inside our own homes – if we let it.
This is especially true for me – an agoraphobic – who can use these barriers as a shield from the outside world. This could be my excuse to stay inside and to avoid life; and no one would ever question it. There is a comfort when I look out my window and see my protective fortress; to know that I can use this as my cocoon, and not have to leave for a long, long time. But this is wrong.
I ignored the man on the television’s words. I slipped on my socks, made my bed, and headed downstairs to face the day, even though I knew he was right. There is a palpable sadness that shows its face this time of year. It is unmistakable. The good cheer of the holidays has turned into frowns and complaints about the weather. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
“Why do we give in so easily?” I asked myself. We don’t have to settle for the way that things are. We don’t have to be a statistic. We can dig ourselves out of our sadness just the way that I dig myself out of my house.
I put on layers of my warmest winter clothes, grabbed my trusty shovel, and began my new life. Grab your shovel and join me.