Groundhog Day is a musical for me. It creates this little personal utopia for me to just... be in. When Groundhog Day is on, I don't owe anyone anything, I don't have work to do, I can just sit here and express myself however I see fit...
Well, within reason. I mean, I can't just ramble about my personal life without providing a little context. That's like an unspoken contract I've got with you few regular readers and whatever other readers may find this particular entry someday. This blog may be about me, but it's also about movies. If I cannot mix the two, then I shouldn't be writing a) because the thesis of this entire blog, if there is one singular thesis, is that our lives can be measured in movies and movies can be measured in our lives and profound and profane depths can be found in the intersection thereof and b) because I don't want to sound like a selfish, petty little bastard who just needs to talk about himself. I'd rather be a late- or post-loop Phil Connors than a pre- or early-loop Phil Connors.
Still, I am the guy who had those WWPCD? bracelets made--I haven't been wearing one lately as my first one broke after a good long while and some recent allergy issues have made the replacement one irritate my wrist... and there I go getting into unnecessary detail once again. Sorry for that. But, as I was saying, I'm the guy who had the WWPCD? bracelets made, and I love me some Dead Poets Society and the whole carpe diem attitude. And, just this past weekend (it's Tuesday as I write this, future scholar studying my work) I actually thought of that bracelet, that whole WHAT WOULD PHIL CONNORS DO? attitude, when I asked a girl out on what ostensibly could be construed as a date. Personally, between you and me, one-on-one, don't tell anybody, I'd be good just being her friend because she impressed me on a regular basis and makes me want to be a better version of me. Don't get me wrong; I'd love for there to be more there, but if there can't be, I'd prefer things didn't get weird between us just because I asked her out. I mean, imagine Phil's life if the entire town of Punxsutawney was repeating the day, or had just vague memories of the loop upon each resumption. What would Nancy think when, in the back of her mind, she knows that Phil Connors lied to her one day long ago to get her back to his room at the bed and breakfast. What would Rita think if... actually, she would probably just keep on slapping Phil whenever she got the chance. And, he'd probably deserve it.
Key to this film is that Phil has to better himself not because the people around him know his faults, necessarily, and need to see him be better, but because he knows his faults and needs to see him be better. And, I get that. I have come a long way since I started this blog 578 days ago. I was in a dark place when I started this thing, and I started it almost on a whim. Living alone, with few people I could really call my friends, I absolutely needed some backbone on which to hang my life. You might not expect a blog to be that backbone, for this film to be that backbone. But, watching it day in and day out, even before graduate school got underway and added even more structure to my life, framed my life anew. It built a foundation for a new me. He wasn't really all that different from the old me, just like pre-loop Phil and post-loop Phil are very much the same guy despite some fundamental changes, but he was different from me. And, this guy writing this blog today--he's so very different from either of them. Pre-blog and early-blog me--I doubt they could imagine me today, confident enough to ask a girl out and not be devastated when she... well, she didn't say no, but she definitely didn't say yes. There's an optimistic little version of me, maybe sitting one of my shoulders like the angels in my From Charioteer Myth to Shoulder Angel: A Rhetorical Look at Our Divided Soul (because I loves me some self-promotion from time to time), and he thinks there's still a chance. No no means there's a chance. Insert here that bit from Dumb and Dumber where Mary tells Lloyd that there's a "one out of a million" chance that he's got with her. "So, you're telling me there's a chance," he replies. Of course, he's an idiot.
I am not an idiot. But I am also not the emotionally fragile guy I have been at certain points in my life. I want what I want, but I'm mature enough to know that moving on is possible. Barring the death of someone close to me, I think I have been through the worst my life has to offer. And, I have come out on the other side just like Phil Connors out of the time loop, content to be where he is, to live a life that does not have to be grand, does not have to be special; it just has to be life.
Life is good. Life is beautiful.
If you don't know that already, figure it out. You will be a lot better off than you are right now.
Enjoy your friends and family for who they are, the good parts, the bad parts, the fascinating parts and the annoying parts. If it makes you happy to interact with someone, don''t neglect that relationship just because you're busy... you know that generic message of many a movie or tv episode or that song "Cat's in the Cradle." It's such a simple message, but I think as much as we understand it, we still miss it often. Just like the messages of this film--live life for today, enjoy your surroundings and the people therein, better yourself, better the world around you--all of these things are so damn obvious but we forget them, we neglect them, we pretend they don't matter because we're busy with work, or social media, or some other thing that the world tells us is important.
This is life. This is what we get. A great line from Neil Gaiman's Sandman comic--Death says, "You get what anybody gets--you get a lifetime."
Life begins anew every day. Invent yourself, build yourself, better yourself, and live.
WWPCD? He would live and he would enjoy the shit out of it.