Wednesday, January 07, 2009

How to Score Life (Or: Why I get really depressed at New Year)

In one of the earliest Red Dwarf novels (I think it's probably "Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers"), Arnold Rimmer muses on the two types of people. He posits that one group score their lives from 0, but then rate every action as an achievement. Get a 'B' on a test? Well, it's better than a 'C', which itself is much better than nothing at all. The other group, he suggests, begin scoring at 100%, but then lose marks for every failure. That 'B'? Why wasn't it an 'A'?

Naturally, the people in the first group are happier than those in the second, as their lives represent a never-ending sequence of successes and accomplishments, rather than of failures and disappointments.

For the most part, I'm a member of that first group. Sure, I'm constantly looking to improve, and constantly analysing where things went wrong and why, but that's because I always want to outdo the last great achievement. Yeah, I rock.

Except, of course, at New Year, when my thoughts inevitably turn back to the days just passed, and all the many things I didn't get done. And suddenly, it all doesn't look quite so rosy.

Hence my tradition of "go to bed, and try to forget that the last year ever happened". Because no matter how long the list of things that I accomplished is, the list of things I didn't do will always be longer.

Fortunately, it's not New Year's Eve any more.

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