Groundhog Day – Stop, Rewind, Repeat…


It’s not the first time in recent weeks that I have woken up and for the briefest moment, wondered what excitements the day had in store…What would I do, who would I see?

Then the realization hits that we are still in lockdown. Still in this twilight half-life where the twenty minutes we are allowed to walk around the block and the planning of what’s for dinner have taken on disproportional importance.

For I know what today has in store - the same things as yesterday… Maybe with a cloudy view from my window, maybe with a different chapter in my book, but pretty much a carbon copy of the days and weeks that have preceded it.

It is like the movie Groundhog Day, except that we don’t even have that much ability to try and change the factors to see if it yields a new outcome tomorrow. If memory serves, Bill Murray’s character ‘Phil’ kept trying to alter circumstances; his encounters and conversations - eventually trying to do more and more outlandish things that included increasingly creative ways of killing himself (definitely not recommended for us) - only to find himself back where he had started when the alarm clock went off the next morning (or the same morning???)

But like Bill Murray’s character maybe there are lessons in this groundhog time for us. His lessons were: To think of others before himself, To never give up and To make the most of the ‘downtime’ that he has been given. I seem to remember he learns to speak French and play the piano… But most importantly, he becomes a better person, focused on the needs of others - as he gradually realizes that every attempt to indulge himself, has no real meaning… He learns to appreciate what he has around him, who he has around him. He matures by doing the same things over and over - and learning from them - till he finally ‘gets it right’.  

A friend of mine who is eager to see the most spiritual of opportunities in this worldwide lockdown believes that we are learning lessons - good lessons. About what we can do without. About how much we really need to consume. About how important work really is, how important family truly is. About what balance really means. About what goodness means.

Are we learning?

I know none of us believes that things can just go back to ‘normal’. That Briscoes will be shouting at us on television about their latest sale of Zip kettles and we will all feel the need to race over and replace our appliances… That we’ll feel our life isn’t complete if we haven’t got the latest iphone or redecorated the lounge for the umpteenth time… But what will it be like?

Some of us believe that our new normal will be frostier and more distant… That we will stop shaking hands, stop hugging friends, stop being physically open with all but our most near and dear - those we believe offer no risk of transmission… That would be a shame. That can’t be the lesson we need to learn…

As we wake up each day to another Groundhog Day during our time of lockdown, let’s ask ourselves what the lessons are that we ‘need to learn’. Let’s use this time of endless repetition to do the same things over and over - and maybe like ‘Phil’  mature a bit…

The message of Groundhog Day is that Life is a gift and the people we share it with are what makes that gift special and meaningful.

Maybe when we are clear on what really matters and how we should really live our days, there will be a different song playing on the radio when we awake tomorrow…

April 18, 2020 by Laurie Piggott

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