And again and again and again and again….
Undoubtedly, you’ve asked yourself this very question more than once in your life, wished for a replay, a do-over, a little taste of what Bill Murray was forced to endure in the 1993 flick Groundhog Day–giving an entirely new meaning to the term while he was at it.
It would make choices so much easier, wouldn’t it? After all, if you came to a fork in the road, yet knew you’d have the opportunity to take the other path the very next day, well, I doubt you’d spend too much time debating which way to go. I wouldn’t. Of course, we’d never get a chance to see where those roads led, how they played out in the long-term, either. Our decisions would become so much less weighty, in fact, they’d be all but meaningless.
And that’s the hell–well, that and Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania–in which Phil the Weatherman finds himself. At first, reveling in a life free of consequences, he behaves shamelessly. And, in the same situation, who wouldn’t? Consuming one’s weight in baked goods, driving drunk, bedding unsuspecting women, killing famous vermin…. Okay, maybe that’s not exactly how we’d do it, but whatever. The bottom line is that the living for today thing gets old pretty quickly. And so he gets outside of himself, he makes nice with the townspeople, takes a genuine interest in the woman he really wants, does a fabulous report on the Groundhog Day festival, and wakes up to find the spell is broken.
So what’s the moral? Well, according to Wikipedia:
In philosophy, Groundhog Day has been considered a tale of self-improvement which emphasizes the need to look inside oneself and realize that the only satisfaction in life comes from turning outward and concerning oneself with others rather than concentrating solely on one’s own wants and desires. The phrase also has become a shorthand illustration for the concept of spiritual transcendence. As such, the film has become a favorite of Buddhists because they see its themes of selflessness and rebirth as a reflection of their own spiritual messages. It has also, in the Catholic tradition, been seen as a representation of Purgatory. It has even been dubbed by some religious leaders as the “most spiritual film of our time.”
I don’t know about all that, but I will say this: whether that vermin sees his shadow or not, tomorrow’s a comin. And, as hard as our decisions can be, they matter… and it’s because they matter that they are so hard. But maybe the half-full way of looking at it is that with every choice we make, we take a little control of the tomorrow we’ll wake up to… tomorrow.