Things can only get bet­ter

Jan­uary is al­most his­tory; Is­lan­ders have plenty of pos­i­tive things to look for­ward to in 2016

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OPINION - Gary MacDougall Gary MacDougall is a re­tired P.E.I. jour­nal­ist. He can be reached at pei­ivory­tower@gmail.com

Here’s some good news: we have made it past Blue Mon­day, which is the third Mon­day in Jan­uary and is re­ferred to as the most mis­er­able day of the year.

There’s no truth on whether that’s the date we feel our most glum or melan­choly, but if you had to pick a day, one in late Jan­uary would be a prime can­di­date.

It gets dark early th­ese days, and the year’s first month usu­ally pro­duces a cold snap or two to re­mind us that in spite of all the global warm­ing talk, we still have long, cold win­ters.

Jan­uary is also the month when the fi­nan­cial chick­ens come home to roost - when we need to start mak­ing pay­ments on presents pur­chased dur­ing the mad­cap spend­ing frenzy of De­cem­ber.

In ad­di­tion, it is a time when peo­ple re­flect on the past year and some missed op­por­tu­ni­ties and pos­si­bly lost loved ones.

Throw in some hor­ror sto­ries about in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism, world poverty, the de­cline of the red-hot job mar­ket out West for Is­lan­ders and the free fall of the Cana­dian loonie and, well, per­haps the third Mon­day in Jan­uary is a good choice for Blue Mon­day. It’s cer­tainly not a good time to visit your fi­nan­cial ad­viser ex­pect­ing to find out how much your in­vest­ments have grown.

But as the ex­pres­sion goes, a frown is just a smile up­side down. So lets look for some rea­sons for re­nam­ing Blue Mon­day to Turn­around Mon­day for the year 2016.

As of to­day, it is only 69 days un­til April. And for those of a cer­tain age de­mo­graphic, that isn’t very long.

If you are an op­ti­mist and be­lieve the P.E.I. golf sea­son could start as early as Satur­day, April 16, then you only have 84 days to get your clubs shined up.

And while the days are in­deed dark, the De­cem­ber sol­stice of Dec. 21 is be­hind us, and it is sur­pris­ing how quickly we gain time. Sun­set on Dec. 21 was at 4:29 p.m.; to­day it will set at 5:03 p.m.

In terms of the econ­omy, while there are chal­lenges ahead as the coun­try and its de­pen­dency on re­source ex­ports ad­just to the new price norm, our econ­omy is far too strong and di­verse to take a fa­tal fall like Humpty Dumpty did.

The econ­omy, em­ploy­ment and job se­cu­rity are cer­tainly vi­tally im­por­tant, but Canada is the envy of many coun­tries when it comes to what re­ally mat­ters — health care, education and se­cu­rity.

More pos­i­tive news is the fact that be­fore the year is out, Canada will have helped 25,000 Syr­ian refugees find a new life and hope.

With the end of Jan­uary in sight, there’s even some good news for young­sters. One of my grand­sons sounded a pos­i­tive note the other day while look­ing ahead to the re­main­ing school year. He said things will be tough un­til the March break, af­ter which there is only April to worry about. The pres­sure is usu­ally off in May and June, he said with a smile.

And, fi­nally, if it’s not the econ­omy, weather, long dark days or home­work that has you down, con­sider this: if you are read­ing this col­umn, that’s a good thing. Your at­ti­tude al­ways de­ter­mines your al­ti­tude so take ad­van­tage of the rest of the day - and year.

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