It’s the first February 2nd since our family’s lockdown began, and the “Every day is Groundhog Day” chapter of Keep Going, while truer than ever, isn’t quite as funny as it used to be.
The thing I’m trying to remind myself: that chapter is the oldest material in the book! I first delivered the material in a talk in 2015 and a blog post in 2017. The movie itself is 28 years old. A good parable doesn’t age, it just gets truer with time. (Just remember: it’s a comedy.)
Since many of us really have been reliving the same day over and over again, for almost a year now, what new wisdom is there to be gleaned? I’m not sure there is any, to be honest. What was true before the pandemic is truer now. What was awful before the pandemic is more awful. What was beautiful is more beautiful. Etc. (Just remember: it’s a comedy.)
What I know is that there is no finish line. Even when the pandemic lifts, if we’re lucky, we’ll still be here, trying to figure out what to do with our lives, trying to figure out what’s next. All we will get is more days to fill. The problem of how to fill them will not go away.
What I missed in the book is how much novelty we crave in our lives. Something — anything! — new. Something we’ve never seen or experienced before. A new book. A new show to watch. A new hobby. Seeking out these things and savoring them and celebrating them when we come across them.
I love in the movie how eventually Phil pours himself into his hobbies: playing the piano, ice sculpting, reading French poetry. To find things to do just for the sake of doing them, to discover practicing for practice’s sake, to find things it feels good to suck just a little less at each day… that’s the kind of stuff that makes life good. (Not to mention: exploring on foot, random acts of kindness, making gifts, and, of course, screaming into the void once in a while.)
Art, no matter how badly we do it, will always be here for us when we need meaning for our days.
Happy Groundhog Day, y’all. I’ll see you tomorrow.