Blue Monday

Meghana Valluri, Contributor

Meghana brings to you a message of hope wrapped in a casserole of tasteful gloom.

Dear Monday, I wish you get wrecked and I never have to see you again.

There you have it friends, I said it. Someone needed to. Mondays suck. 

Mondays bring tired eyes, foggy brains and fumbling hands hitting the snooze button seventeen consecutive times. On Monday, as you skip the workout you promised you would start this week, and forcibly thrust yourself into the crossfire of work you are not mentally prepared for, remember my crisp assessment for this most repugnant day of the week and feel free to thank me for my candidness.

But I am not here to bemoan Mondays. Not all Mondays, anyway. No, I am here to tell you about the worst of them all: the Blue Monday. Before you Google it, let me save you some time. It is made up. A UK travel company decreed the third Monday of January as Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. Why, you ask?

First, it is fun. Much like all make believe, once you have given in to the suspension of disbelief, it is amusing to think that there is one specific worst day of the year and relieving to think we are already past it. Second, it is just about believable falsehood: pseudoscience. Think about it, we hate January in generaleternally gray skies, credit card debt amassed from Christmas shopping, and that deep pit of growing guilt that festers from realizing you have already given up on your New Year’s resolution. The woes of January collide with the misery of Mondays and the first day of the term, culminating into this one long anti-weekend.

Now, let me put a disclaimer out for those who are alarmed by my temporary subscription to this nonsense. Pseudoscience is a distraction, used as justification by astrologers and flat-Earthers to corroborate their faltering whoppers. Even so, given the catastrophic whirlwind that was 2020, even the most sane rationalist should not be censured for seeking refuge in this self-deception.

When I first heard of Blue Monday, I thought it sounded like the title for one of those bad indie films big-time actors do when they get bored of making superhero movies. Let me paint a picture for you – a girl wearing a mismatched beanie and coat rides the metro into DC every day for her job at the museum’s newspaper stand. She sports budding emotions of a meandering career and a floundering life. Her life is peppered with other suitably depressing things. We are supposed to see ourselves in her, you know. I mean, in the end she always finds love (at the newspaper stand?). Or gets a job she likes (selling museum souvenirs instead of newspapers?). A song we have never heard before plays during the credits: Blue Monday.

Why am I talking about a gloomy movie with a bad plot? Because 2020 pushed us through the IndieMovieGirl funnel. 2020 did not just have one depressing day of the year, it had 240. With each passing day, our notion of the future slipped further down its precariously slippery slope. We stayed indoors. We moved back home. We watched cases rise. We saw family members get sick. And there was absolutely nothing we could do about it besides dreaming of moving to New Zealand (sigh!). Our mental state, for all intents and purposes, was exactly like that of IndieMovieGirl. Forget Blue Monday; 2020 was Blue Year.

Despite our HBS degrees, unfortunately none of us can predict the future. I watched FIN professors solemnly confess that the prettiest discounted cash flow in the world, with every sensitivity analysis and color-coded cell you can imagine, would not have accounted for this pandemic. We could not have known. But in 2021, on our way to recovering from the greyest year, what we can do is reject the idea of Blue Monday.

We can choose to realize that we are alive. And being alive is genuinely fantastic, because it means you get to do a whole host of things. We get to swab our noses three times a week! We get to go to school, sometimes even in person! We get to read cases! We get to sit across Spangler lawn and have coffee with each other! We get to think about internships, and what we will do when we graduate! We get to complain about beloved Turkey Drop somehow turning into Engagements Galore! We get to make plans.

So yes. The world is a mess. Nothing makes sense. But we are not IndieMovieGirl, despite feeling that way sometimes. You can focus on all the things we cannot do this year, or you can focus on the things we can. You can complain that we cannot jet off to Maui every weekend, or you can choose to appreciate the fact that you are luckily not an essential worker, in literal harm’s way on a daily basis. I prefer the latter. Because even if we have little control over this raging pandemic, we do have the utmost agency over our own attitude.  Plus, like I said, even IndieMovieGirl finds love at the end. How bad could it be?

In summary: reject pseudoscience, some movies are just depressing, and Happy 2021, HBS

Meghana Valluri (MBA ’22), a Carnegie Mellon alum (try saying that 5 times really fast), worked as a product manager at Apple prior to attending HBS. A proud member of Section D, Meghana loves warm drinks, melts over a good story, and is literally always excited.