• Maggie Wheeler

Groundhog Day

Saturday night, February 1st, I watched Groundhog Day—the 1993 movie with Bill Murray. It’s a classic and brilliant comedy about a guy who gets stuck reliving Groundhog Day over and over, until he gets it right.

Sunday morning, on Groundhog Day, the best of the Super Bowl commercials hit social media: Bill Murray reprising his role from the movie 27 years later, but discovering that every day can be different with the addition of a Jeep Gladiator to explore in (with Punxsutawney Phil riding shotgun). The ad is brilliant and a real hoot. If you haven’t seen it, go here.

I’ve always felt an affinity with the groundie coming up for air on February 2nd. January starts with New Year’s (although of late I am down for the night before the big moment). This is followed by much discussion about resolutions and new plans.

Except for me.

Granted, I am usually in the midst of a planning wall with my professional and personal goals. But that is ongoing.

I find the month of January to be the time of enjoying the fullness of nothing (I think that’s Feng Shui). I hibernate. I go dark on social media and newsletters. Also blogs as with this one. I may clean out a closet or two but overall, I don’t do much after Christmas clean up.

I roost.

But while physical and social activity wind down, the thought processes gear up. It’s that thinking without thinking, the running commentary in your head and the watching as though your life was a movie. It isn’t overt but it is consistent at this time each year. It’s a season all its own and I let it take its course.

Like the movie, each day plays out the same over and over. It’s not the same day on repeat but our lives have deep patterns and we live them daily without thinking. We become blind to what is in front of us, good and bad: The present in all its glory, stripped (at least for January) of past regrets and future dreaming.

Bill Murray plays the same character in the commercial, almost three decades later. He is the same character but not the same man. There seems to be no lesson to be learned and he is happy to be stuck in the old loop—the loop of every day the same day now laced with different adventures with the Jeep. A commercial cannot tell a story like a movie but we get the picture.

I have surfaced like the groundhog in early February with a different perspective and renewed appreciation for the basics of my life. No big plans or resolutions. Just hoisting the knapsack up on my shoulder and continuing down the path with eyes open.

And I look forward to this year’s promise of the groundhog: an early spring.

Talk next week,


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