Have you ever stopped to think how you would live your life if there were no tomorrow? Let’s imagine today is your last day: What would you do? Who would you spend time with?
Today is Groundhog Day, and if I were in the Bill Murray movie, I would be living today over and over again. Groundhog Day is actually my favorite Bill Murray film, not just because he’s hilarious in it, but because of the movie’s powerful underlying message.
At some point in our lives, most of us have felt unfilled, like there is something missing or some greater purpose we have yet to discover. Murray’s character is relatable for many people going through the motions, living day to day without passion or excitement—a sad reality for those who are hopelessly stuck on autopilot. The only difference is that he is forced to relive the same day until he gets it right.
His challenge, similar to the one we face in our own lives, is to find a way to break the cycle. Through trial and error, Murray ultimately realizes the only thing he can do is accept his reality—however miserable and doomed he feels—choosing to embrace the fact that he can’t escape Groundhog Day.
Interestingly he starts to notice when he changes his behavior, people respond differently, and the day’s events unfold in new ways. He starts to view each day as an opportunity and imagines ways he can make it better.
I admit if I could relive the same day over and over, I would probably start out like he did: a little selfish and reckless—basically, treating life like an experiment. I’m overwhelmed thinking about everything I would want to do. The possibilities are endless. I would talk to that guy on the subway in the morning who always smiles at me, speak up for myself with that witty comeback I didn’t have yesterday, and play hooky from work because I couldn’t get fired.
Let’s face it: we would all live life differently if we had nothing to lose.
The reason we don’t live like this every day is because we have the expectation of more time. We think, there’s no rush. I can ask for the promotion next week. Now is not the right time to tell him how I feel. I can wait.
But before you know it, next week turns into next year, and you are in the same exact place. The truth is, we have no idea what the future holds, but we won’t reach our end goal until we take the first step.
In his final speech, Murray says:
“When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the of warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn’t imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.”
So make today your first day of spring and leap into action…whatever direction that may be.