January Blues

Shubhneet Sandhu
3 min readJan 31, 2022

Riding the wave of January has been tough. There is something strange and lonely about the month. It feels like a break in time but with no concrete separation from the past. The weather is still cold. It still gets dark out pretty early. There are still grey days when you don’t get to see the sun at all. Has anything changed?

New year’s eve is seductive and exciting, like a new lover– smiling, turning towards you before quickly looking away bashfully. Just outside your reach but bubbling with expectation. There are unspoken promises. The idea that everything will change, or at least may change. The one who looks a glorious light at the end of the tunnel, but only from afar. January might be the one to change the trajectory of your life forever.

And then you finally meet and realize they aren’t what you idealized. What was in the distance was just your imagination, your mind playing a trick on you.

January arrives, set up for disappointment. Once the confetti falls, she stands alone showing you your reflection. You, sweating eagerness and excitement, ruining the perfect facade of optimism– realizing nothing really changes when the clock strikes 12.

NYE starts the year at a peak– hope, laughter, resolutions and dreams, fireworks booming as loud as your heartbeat– willfully ignoring the imminent slope that follows. There are no fireworks for January 2nd, or 8th or the 29th. There is only the creeping fear that perhaps nothing has changed at all. Perhaps the life you live is your share of this world afterall. You should be happy with your plot.

To believe the world, yours for the taking, is just waiting for you to grasp it, feels arrogantly American.

Sometimes I think life is predestined and we can’t possibly have any control. We can’t control when or where we are born, or how and when we die. It’s the idea that what’s meant for you is meant for only you. You cannot stray from the path you’ve been set on. You cannot escape the good or the bad. The script has been written and we all must play our parts.

Some are just born to be great or into greatness, while others are not. Some win the lottery or are born into heirdom, while others can’t seem to catch a break. Paraphrasing Zuko from ATLA, some are born lucky and some are lucky to be born. This kind of thinking often feeds the growing pessimist in me, who I don’t like to begin with. I don’t want to accept that there is nothing meaningful about life. I want to believe that we are all interconnected and the short time we have on earth is not random turns of fortune, all leading to the inevitable, death.

Yet the optimist in me can’t help from wondering, what about chance and opportunity. Are they programmed into the system, or random and inexplicable as they seem. Is it not a seductive belief to think an unlikely candidate was given a chance and seized it– striking gold but benefitting from the opportunity through some magical combination of determination, luck, timing and skill or talent.

Maybe the cold has gotten to my heart over the years. Maybe January and the new year do summon a fresh start. An empty page. New fallen snow, glistening in the light, before it is trodden into slush.

Anne Shirley Cuthbert said, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” (L.M. Montgomery) So, is a new year not the ultimate flawless new day.

I’m not sure.

Here’s to hoping February’s promises of March and an arriving Spring can make up for what January could not live up to.

You never know when life can change. Maybe the next step is waiting for you to take it, or you have to grasp the opportunity when it arrives. Stay on the path and see where it leads, I guess that is what I can do.