Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies—one of those I can watch over and over. Every time, it reminds me of such a great lesson: we have to live consciously and deliberately to get life right.
Phil Connor, the mean-spirited weatherman, wakes up and lives the same day every day for what the director estimated was probably about 40 years. It took him that long to perfect his one day, losing his self-centeredness, his self-loathing, and his self-indulgence.
“You could never love anyone but yourself,” his producer Rita tells him early in the film.
“That’s not true,” he tells her. “I don’t even like myself.”
To make his one Today become Tomorrow, he has to learn to make his connections and his actions genuine. Before he even heads in that direction, though, he sinks to the lowest lows over and over again. He has to erase the old, nasty self and rebuild from nothing.
Eventually, he seems to have less attachment to outcome and more realization that he chooses his own life. So he does. He chooses his life and becomes the man he wants to be.
The Finite Endless Days of Parenting
Sometimes, day after day with children seems the same.
Those days aren’t the same though. As I recognize my children changing before my eyes—my babies becoming little kids, little kids becoming young adults—I remind myself that every day is not the same, and my chances to live those days well are not endless. It is my obligation to live each of those days consciously.
Holidays As Scheduled Reminders
Phil Connor was able to perfect his day. I haven’t managed to perfect my days. I will never be able to perfect my days with my children. I don’t have tens of thousands of chances to get each day right.
Holidays, points in the year whether cultural or personal, give us opportunities to refocus. I take New Year’s Day as a reminder to check in on big life goals. I take Groundhog Day as a reminder to live consciously. These aren’t the only times I check in, obviously, but I am glad for every reminder. It doesn’t matter to me if it takes a silly (and secretly serious) movie to remind me. I don’t mind a woodchuck reminding me.
If your children are babies, let me remind you to savor every day with them. If your children are teenagers, please remind me to show my children every day how much I love and respect them.