Filling Your Niche
groundhog shadow

Every day is groundhog day

Every year on February 2nd, we watch the movie Groundhog Day. It’s become one of our nontraditional traditions, the way so many accidental things have.

At the beginning of the movie, Bill Murray is an ass. He has his own agenda, and daily life is beneath him. He’s constantly looking for something better. When he gets stuck in an endless, repeating day, his first reaction is irritation. Why couldn’t it be an extraordinary day? Why does he have to be stuck in a dull, uneventful day where nothing really happens?

His next thought is “How can I game this?” He uses all these tricks to get Andie MacDowell into bed, fine-tuning each attempt according to the previous day’s failures. Next time, I won’t give her fudge. Next time, we’ll drink to world peace. Yet despite crafting the perfect day together– or what he’s decided would constitute the perfect day together– she smacks him across the face every damned night.

Despair enters after that. He realizes he’s doomed to repeat every single day, exactly the same. Nothing will ever change. Nothing. That’s when the suicide montage starts.

Then Andie MacDowell says something to him about how amazing it would be to have nothing but time, and something clicks for him. Bill Murray starts reading over breakfast. He takes piano lessons. He seeks out ways to make this one day better, like fixing a flat for a bunch of old ladies or saving a kid from breaking his arm. By the end of the movie, he’s clearly become the best possible version of himself.

And just like that, it’s tomorrow.

Although I’ve seen this movie a bajillion times, this year I caught something new: ┬álife really is like Groundhog Day. Every day, we have a choice. We can look at each day as a humdrum irritation– Why am I stuck in normalcy? Why can’t I do amazing, exciting things with my life?

Or we can try to game the system. Collect all the matching parts into a semblance of what we think success looks like or what we’ve been told happiness should be.

Or we can despair at the hopeless mundanity of everyday life.


Or we can maximize our potential, every day. Become the best version of ourselves, every day. Not perfect; just better than yesterday. Do one thing better. Focus on one thing more.

Every day.

Maarit • 02/04/2014

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