Another weekend, another Meetup, and another group of great people! We went to watch St. Patrick’s Day parade and then to an Irish hooley at a local microbrew. I didn’t spend 13 hours with the group this time, but I did form a special bond with one of the members. She and I are in a similar situation, the only difference being she is just starting the uphill climb whereas I think I am on the descent now. I shared my struggles with her and she was able to find comfort in knowing that it is possible to make it through this no matter how hopeless things may seem right now. She said, “I was meant to meet you today“, and it warmed my heart to realize that perhaps my struggles weren’t for nothing after all- they helped someone else take heart.
At the beginning of February I had said that I could feel spring in the air, I was my own Phil, the groundhog, and something reminded me of that this morning. So browsing through my Netflix list, when I saw the movie title The Groundhog Day, I just had to watch it. For those who haven’t watched the movie, here is the link to IMDB page. Bill Murray plays an egocentric, arrogant weatherman who has to go to Punxsutawney to report on the titular event. Through some inexplicable phenomenon, he is stuck reliving that day over and over. What’s worse is that he is fully aware that he is trapped in that day but no one else remembers a thing from the previous day, which was the same as today, and will be the same tomorrow. Initially, he goes about being his old grumpy self each day, running into the same people, having the same conversations. Soon he realizes that his actions couldn’t possibly have any consequences since tomorrow will never come. So he starts exploiting the situation and having some fun with it. But fun gets old pretty quick. Desperate to break out of this cycle, he tries to kill himself several times. But no matter what he does, at 6 am, he is back in his bed, waking up to the same song and chat on the radio, and once again, it is February 2!
Over time, and partially in an attempt to woo his producer, something changes in him. He starts using his ‘power’ to do good things, to help people, to keep them safe, he even tries to prevent death. He becomes a good man. No longer are his days the same. He takes the time know other people, acquire new skills and do all the good he can in that one day. Because of his newfound kindness of heart, at last he is able to win over his producer and he is released from the time trap.
As I was watching the movie, it made me think, “what makes one day different from another?“. It’s not simply the date on the calendar. Often times, I wake up in the morning and feel saddened by the realization that I’m still here, it’s going to be another day just like all the days before it since the beginning of this year, another day of hoping that something will change, that I’ll find a way back home. I am stuck in my own time trap. But aren’t we all? What’s the point of living if there is nothing to aspire to? My aspiration right now is to be able to return to Buffalo. But instead of thinking of each day as being same as the one before it, I can try to make it different. So I go out, try new things, meet new people. I think of ways to get closer to my dream and act in that direction. In whatever I do, I remember to live today to its full potential. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, I don’t even know if I will get a tomorrow. Today is all I’ve got and if I waste it with negativity and inaction, then I would have failed myself. So what does make one day different from another? It is what we do with it.
The only advantage Bill Murray had over the rest of us is that life wasn’t passing him by. He was no older the next day when he woke up. But for us who are living in the real world, each day we lose is one more day we can’t get back. We can’t go back in time to fix things, or do them over. So it is but obvious that we must be extra careful with the choices we make today. When we are going through crisis, it is easy to lose sight of today. We just want it to be tomorrow, and not just any tomorrow but the tomorrow we are yearning for. I am all for a fast forward button for life, but while the geniuses of the world figure that out, we must all face our todays, no matter how grim they might seem. So why just face them, why not make them worth something? That something doesn’t have to be extraordinary, even a small something like going for a long walk, but surely a something that is positive.
Something else I watched this weekend was the movie Becoming Jane, based on the life of Jane Austen. I, like every single girl in this world, grew up reading Jane Austen and fantasizing about a life filled with romance. The thing with novels, though, is that they end at a point where everything is perfect. But life doesn’t end there. If I were a character in Jane’s novels, my story would have ended when my former boyfriend asked me to marry him- I was young, successful, happy, and so completely in love- all elements of a perfect ending. But life went on, we broke up, in came my playboy, the rest you know. The point being, even if we could skip to our desired tomorrow, there is no way to make it last forever- now don’t tell me you want the geniuses of the world to make that happen next, that’s just plain greedy 😛.
Life will always be full of challenges, and there’ll always be times when we’ll want to skip over the bad part. But the bad parts are the true test of our character. It is not easy to make it through, but make it through we must. And if it is something we must do, we might as well give it our best. Life is simpler living one day at a time, so let’s stop worrying about tomorrow, or next month, or next year. Let’s seize today and make it better than yesterday!