Monday, January 24, 2011

Giving January What For

Riverside Park Dog Run in the Snow

In recent conversations with various people, a general theme has emerged: this month kind of sucks.

Can you relate?  Does everything just seem a little bit worse right now?  Is your mood inside as gray as the skies outside?  Do minor setbacks feel like calamities?  Have you been listening to too much Gordon Lightfoot, drinking too much red wine (alone), spending too much time whining, wasting too much energy shaking your fist at

If "yes" - then take heart: it's not your fault.  You may be suffering from a medical condition known as January.

I woke up with a BIG case of the Januaries on Saturday. One of those "Everything is terrible!" and "Nothing is going right!" kind of moods that are no fun to experience nor be around.  So I exiled myself to Riverside Park for a long walk.

I wore my running shoes, not realizing that the park was still snow-covered.  Everything is terrible!  Despite my inappropriate footwear, I walked on.  And on.  And on.  I was determined to walk away the mood, so I continued walking up to 123rd Street, to check out a private grave I recently read about...because nothing cures a bad mood like a visit to a grave?? Everything is terrible!

En route to that site, however, I passed a more familiar one: the dog-run at West 105th Street.  I love all dog-runs (watching cute pups play gives a sort of vicarious happiness) but this run is a particular fave: it's where I first fell in love with the city, years and years ago, while visiting a friend before moving here myself.  So on Saturday I stopped, stood in the snow despite my dampening feet, and watched happy dogs run and jump and bark and chase.  It was adorable.

And I felt a little better.  Everything got a little less terrible.  My case of the Januaries went into temporary remission.

It wasn't an ultimate cure, of course.  My Januaries will continue to return, and I will continue to try to beat them back with moments of found-joy, like visits to a dog-run, or movies with friends, or listening to upbeat 80's dance songs instead of melancholy 70's folk songs.

And I encourage you to do the same, because

January: Together We Can Beat This Sucker

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