Day 1: Phil Connors, a skeptical news weatherman, unwillingly travels to a small town for a day to report annual Groundhog Day. He had one of the worst days and is not able to travel back home because of a bad blizzard that blocks all the roads leading out of the town. He had to grudgingly stay back in the town.
Day 2: Phil wakes up and discovers the today’s events repeating exactly as yesterday. Phil finds out it is still Groundhog Day and he is stuck in the previous day. As unbelievable as it may sound, he is trapped in the Yesterday, in a town he hated and never wanted to be in the first place. He is now in a time loop, waking up every day to the same radio clock alarm, going to report the same news, meeting the same people and cribbing about it every single day. Clueless and shocked, he is not able to figure out how can he stop reliving the same day over and over again.
Well, I just gave you a half synopsis of one of my most favorite movies, Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day, one of my recommendations in my list of “must-watch movies before you leave the planet”. The movie had a lasting effect on me when I watched it for the first time. It made me question myself. What if I were stuck in a day, in the same day, and there is no tomorrow. Just one single day to live in, over and over and over, till eternity. One single day to spend a lifetime.
But then I realized, I already was living in my Groundhog Day on a repetitive mode. Me, getting up every day, having almost similar breakfasts, taking the same route to office, reaching office at the same time, meeting same people, working on similar projects, returning home only to prepare myself for a different yet similar next day. I was not doing the exact things but more or less the same, until the weekends. And not to forget I also was cribbing about how monotonous my life is. In one way or the other, I realized I was Phil Connors, spending my Groundhog Day without even realizing it.
Returning to the movie, Phil keeps on repeating every act, every day, until the day he realizes that he can use this trap to his advantage and then starts improvising every day. He tries and tries persistently to make this woman of his dream, fall in love with him, but in vain. Till the day he loses his hope about that happening and eventually his will to live anymore. I mean anyone can understand, how tedious and depressing will it be to live one day monotonously. I knew that feeling and was somehow able to relate to it. I was not able to admit it but deep down I knew that my days were as predictable and dull as of Phil Connors.
In the process of introspecting, I figured out that I was used to the usual. I had programmed myself to live a monotonous life, because it was comfortable, familiar and easy. My mind was programmed to do the same thing over and over again. Because I had become really good at resisting change. I realized that I would rather live my Groundhog Day than changing it to something new. Such were my days stuck in my mind. And I knew I will never be able to release my day from my mind unless I start adding new tasks to it, taking newer risks and adopting to new changes. I knew that the days will go by the same way, if I let them. And, I also knew that it will be a hell of a task for me to change these days.
As the movie progresses, we realize that changing a day to something totally new has become a tough task for Phil. And it was because of his negative mindset which didn’t change, just as the day didn’t change for him. Just when Phil was on the verge of giving up completely, his love (who btw is much more upbeat than him) tells him how it’s not the day that matters but how you perceive that day. It took tons and tons of days for Phil to change his day, because for him to change the day, he had to change his perception about the day.
Changing perception is not an easy job. All the hell break loose when you try to change perception stored in your mind. I knew I will have to do the same unless I wanted to live the way I was living. But I also knew if I actually decide to change my perception, nothing can stop me. One of the lessons I learnt from the movie that has stayed with me till now is that “there is a heck of a lot more to a day than just living it as some ordinary day”. It taught me that once you change your perception about a day, your day changes. It taught me that once you change your day by choosing what to do in that day, your day changes. Your day doesn’t own you, you own the day. The realization was powerful enough to kick me out of my monotonous, comfortable and familiar days to being courageous enough to pursue newness.
Just as in the movie, once Phil chooses and decides to change his perception of the day, everything changes. He starts living in the moment, going with the flow. He starts taking piano lessons, learning ice sculpting, being kinder to strangers, complementing his colleague, saving man from choking and a kid from falling down a tree. He starts giving one hell of a performance to that one same news he had to report that day and every day. He starts breathing life into an old man who is supposed to die that very day. And once he changes his perception about the day, his day changes.
The same town which he hated to begin with, is now a beautiful town with amazing people. The same woman he was trying so hard to woo, gets attracted to this changed man who has a completely different aura now. Once he changes his day and what he did with his day, his day changed to tomorrow, with the love of his life by his side. A happy ending to the movie and a happy beginning to Phil’s new day.
The movie not only pushed me from introspecting about my days to changing for the good. Today, whenever I feel dullness wrapping around my days, I ask myself, how can I change my Groundhog Day. See, Phil had a problem, he was actually stuck in the day. But I am not. I can break free my dull and dreary days. Because eventually, it is always up to me if I want to live the same day repeatedly or brand new days with brand new experiences and some extra life.
Today, I know that changing my days can be easily done by adding and trying new and unusual tasks and experiences. Every day, while going through the day, I keep asking myself. What can I do differently in the day? What can I add extra in the day? What can I do better? Can I be kinder to people? Can I give more smile to strangers? Can I laugh a little more? Can I make someone else’s day? Can I add a little more spice in whatever I am having? Can I add a little more effort in whatever I am doing? Can I put some more love to whatever I am dreaming? Can I avoid cribbing or complaining or negative self-talk? And the answer to these is always a “hell yeah”. Because we can’t have enough of the best things, ever.
Once we add extra life to our days, our perception of the day will change, and vice versa. Once we start changing our days like this, and people see us with that extra effort, extra smile, extra love, they will ask us “what did you do today?”. And we can tell them how we changed our Groundhog Days to the best days of our lives.
P.S. If you have not watched Groundhog Day, I would urge you to watch it. You will love it.