For the last few days, everyone has been bemoaning the idea that we have 6 more weeks of winter left.
They are talking, of course, about groundhog day. A day that simultaneously calls up images of an unfortunate rodent harassed by us human folk to pacify our whiny wishes for winter to be over (I live in New England. Six more weeks of winter WOULD be an early spring!) and a movie by Bill Murray.
And today, as I shoveled the driveway AGAIN, I found myself thinking of the movie Groundhog Day. While it certainly is not in the same ballpark as Ghostbusters ("Back off man, I'm a scientist!") it is a rather enjoyable flick; one that I will leave on if I happen to be flipping channels and stumble across it. It tells the story of an egotistical jerk who must must repeat the exact same day (Groundhog Day) over and over again, Sisyphus-style. Not until he makes a change in himself-- dropping both the egotistical and jerky ways -- can he escape groundhog day and move forward in his life.
Ok, I just read that last paragraph and I made Groundhog Day sound like the most depressing movie ever made. It's not. Hello? Bill Murray! It's funny! (But apparently, I'm not.)
Anyway, what I was thinking as I moved back and forth, and back forth across the driveway, pushing the wet, heavy snow using the shovel like a snowplow, was that we are all living our own personal version of groundhog day. Each and every one of us. And not just when shoveling.
Last year, I took a gigantic step to bust out of my own groundhog day. I quit my job, I got rid of a huge amount of possessions, and I pursued a lifelong dream. I came back from the big adventure with some very different views and priorities than when I left. Yet as February crept in this year, it was as if I awoke to the sound of Sonny and Cher coming from the clock radio. Somehow, without even being aware of it, I had fallen back into my old patterns and habits. My "new' priorities had been delegated to the back seat, and my old, unsatisfied persona was at the wheel.
I have been doing some per diem work at my old place of employment, filling in for an injured co-worker. "No problem," I thought. "I'm just filling in for a few weeks. I'm not there permanently. I just do my work and go home." However, in no time at all, I had said yes to doing work on a number of projects I had absolutely no interest in. For the same reason I always overcommitted myself in the past: because nobody else would do it.
Then on Tuesday night, as I came home from work at 9:30 pm, no time to go to the gym, aggravated at myself, my workplace, the world in general, cranky and hungry and tired, it hit me: I'm Bill Murray! (But apparently not funny.) Even after turning my world completely upside-down, I returned to the familiar when I stopped paying attention.
The good news is, I'm not stuck in groundhog day. Not really. Tomorrow is a brand new day and unlike in the movie, I can choose what happens. Like I can explain that I have overcommitted myself and need to back out of a couple of the projects I have taken on. And acknowledge that saying "nobody else will do it" is sometimes just a way of being egotistical. Or that overworking is a way of being a jerk to myself. (Not until I drop the egotistical and the jerky can I move forward.)
There are so many great things to move forward toward! (spoiler alert) New jobs, another move, future meeting with the-boy-from-the trail, a possible trip to Haiti. To quote a far inferior and less funny movie, "Life is too short to live the same day twice."