He did not say it was the worst day of the year for him personally, because for a Life Coach and Happiness Consultant, there are no bad days—it would hurt business—and your job is merely to distract people from the fact that life is a slow process towards a painful, aging death. Or contracting a fatal illness in your prime. Or a quick, unexpected sign-out that can happen at any time.
Most people want to be distracted from this, so Cliff’s job is a piece of cake. No wonder he’s so fucking happy all the time. Let’s take a look at the situation of someone who might decide he needs a happiness coach. He wakes up alone in a hotel room, surrounded by empty whiskey bottles. He has no memory of the night before. He cannot find his wallet containing his cash and credit cards, because it was in his pants, which he also cannot find. Instead of realizing that he needs to start going to AA meetings, he decides he is desperately unhappy. He calls Cliff. For a couple hundred bucks, Cliff tells him he needs to start going to AA meetings.
This is way easier work than coal mining or selling insurance, and Cliff’s happy that he’s got the gig and you don’t. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and examine his reasoning behind his theory that today is the worst day of the year, and this column’s thoughts on how to make it better. Cliff’s excuses for January depression are in italics.
The holidays are truly over, and you’re broke from splurging on Christmas. Yeah, so what? There are plenty of other ways to go broke during the year. Congratulate yourself for waiting until the twelfth month to make it happen.
The weather is terrible, and there’s still lots of winter to come. Live in Australia until July, which is their January.
Most people have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions by now. Avoid this by not making any resolutions. Chances are, you’re never going to be thinner, richer, or get laid more than you are now, so wall off depression by not thinking you can change that.
If you’re doing Dry January, it has amazing health benefits, but it doesn’t exactly lend itself to going out. The answer to this problem is completely obvious. Dry January wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for social media’s habit of promoting really shitty ideas, and Dry January is the worst one since Trump being President. If God wanted us to sit in the cold and dark sober, He would not have invented winter ales, or liquor stores that deliver. We don’t do Dry January here because it would mean waking up with a massive hangover on February 2nd, which would ruin one of our favorite holidays, Groundhog Day.
Arnall doesn't even mention the most plausible reason for being depressed on the third Monday in January, which is that it is Martin Luther King Day and you don't get it off.
Arnall offers solutions. Plan a fun fitness vacation to someplace exotic and warm. Strike the word “fitness” from that and it describes the cruise along the Mexican Riviera we just got back from exactly. So, we don’t always disagree with Arnall.
The whole fakey nature of the article is exposed by the picture accompanying it, which we have conveniently cribbed off the Internet, an elegantly dressed model sitting in a window well pretending to be sad. What’s she got to be depressed about? She has a house big enough to have window wells and a pair of boots that’s worth more than our Mexico car (2003 Dodge Neon, 158,000 miles). Now put a picture of a real depressed person there, sitting in a lawn chair in her kitchen because one of her regular chairs is being repaired but she can’t afford to get it out of the shop, in a worn bathrobe, amid a clutter of unwashed dishes, with a pile of collection notices, losing lottery tickets and a parking violation sitting in front of her, crying softly. There’s a lady who needs a life coach.
But Arnall wouldn’t take her case. Probably bum him out too much, and it's already the worst day of the year.