My Own Personal Groundhog Day
I just watched a DVR’d Groundhog Day movie and it was about my 15th viewing of it. It still entertains and amuses me each time because it is one of those movies where you find golden nuggets and new nuances each time you watch. For those not familiar with the plot (What planet are you from?) it is about a self-centered guy stuck in a day in a place that he hates, obligated to do work that he finds stupid.
Since my 91 year old dad is a regular and obsessed viewer of Jeopardy!, this time around I enjoyed the scene where Phil is watching the quiz show with a bunch of senior citizens (seniors all love the show) and he gets every answer right and they are all astounded with his knowledge. That really cracked me up and I don’t think I even noticed that before. (See what I mean about nuggets to be found at each watching?)
This time, I watched the miserable cold winter weather and realized that it would be hell for me to be stuck in a wintry day like that. I did not move to a warmer climate without good reason! On one of weatherman Phil’s many groundhog day event broadcasts he tells the viewers that the winter is NEVER EVER ending. I smiled at that, because for him, it is never ending.
And that got my little creative mind wandering. At one point Phil asks himself why he could not have gotten stuck in a day in the Bahamas with a hot chick he was with at the time. It implied that a more perfect day would be okay to be stuck in, or at least tolerable.
So I searched back into the archives of my brain to choose an absolute day of perfection from start to finish that I would want to relive over and over again if I had my own personal Groundhog day just as Phil Connors did in the movie.
Of course life-cycle events came to mind – both of my children’s weddings, their bar and bat mitzvahs and my own wedding would all be wonderful to relive over and over. But that doesn’t take enough imagination to choose one of those and besides, so many would be tied for their wonderful perfection.
I then challenged myself to go back deep into my memory bank to come up with a day where I could recall all the blissful feelings associated with a non-life-cycle event – a day that was special and joyful from start to finish. Some of the days I thought of were joyful in the way only a young child experiences joy – full of innocence, wonder, and bliss.
First I came up with some vacations, where both the day and evening were just wonderful. It was fun going through a mental card file of special times on vacation. So many of my days in Atlantic City as a young girl, or in Margate as an adult, would probably be in competition.
I thought about a day at overnight camp. So many days neared perfection there as I was escaping oppressive and depressing circumstances back home. I could not remember a specific day though, as all conglomerated together in my mind as a composite perfect day. Those days included absolute non-stop fun and camaraderie, swimming, horsing around, listening to music in our bunk and writing letters home, group meals that started and ending with singing camp songs, and then ending some of our perfect days with singing folk songs around a campfire while toasting marshmallows.
I also considered the entirety of the recent Flower Power Cruise – read all about it here and here to understand it was a utopia of peace, love, and great music. The only thing is that it was not just one day again, like at camp, but the totality of the experience.
My cruise through the Greek Islands and Italy was perfection too – again the total seven day experience.
After a bit more searching, I hit upon a single day of perfection that I would choose if I had to be stuck in a day endlessly. The sad thing is that I have no photos of this day in time, as I did not bring a camera with me and so the moments are only captured in my mind. (And the lack of photos from the past is something I will be addressing in my next blog thanks to a clever meme I just ran across.) I can remember the feelings of utter thrill and joy that my brain was processing all day long during this long ago dream vacation.
I was 19 years old, and my boyfriend decided that I must visit Walt Disney World with him. Conveniently he had a relative that lived close to the park who would host us.
Since I grew up in a family of extremely limited means, my vacations were confined to visits with relatives in our beach town. I had never flown on an airplane before this and had never gone to an “exotic” warm place further away than the Jersey coast.
My boyfriend at the time, who I was solidly in love with, made all the plans for this thrill of a lifetime. Since I was working my way through college, it was not financially possible for me to pay for this, so my generous boyfriend paid from his savings.
Growing up with all things Disney – my go-to movies and the Wonderful World of Disney playing on the television each week, I had seen glimpses of the magical place of Disney World and even Epcot from that program. It was so out of reach for me to visit and enjoy that it was almost mythical.
And then all of a sudden, I was going to spend three exciting days there.
It was the first day at the park though, that would be the day I could relive forever. I was entranced and enchanted at all of the rides, and the cleverness of the shows with animatronics which I had never seen before. We were total kids for those days, buying fun souvenirs, wearing mouse-ears, eating ice-cream, and meeting the characters, giggling ourselves silly and with an never ending grin on our faces. I was not a five year old, but appreciated it all as if I was that age.
Our first day in the park lasted about 10 hours of solid fun. We ended on Main Street with a parade and fireworks and it was a day of absolute perfection for me. The next day we went to Epcot and I was absolutely fascinated with all of the exhibits there too. Yet it was that first day that set the tone for adventure after adventure in the most fun amusement park on earth.
Between the joy I experienced, and the young love feelings of being there with a prized and generous boyfriend, it was the very best single day of my many wonderful days that I had to choose from. Again, it doesn’t even compare to certain life-cycle events that I was privileged to have, but again, those should not be considered as each event was an indescribable high point.
Back to Disney World, at my old age, I still choose to go to those magical Disney kingdoms every so often to feel like a kid again. Nothing will ever compare to the first, but the parks always result in a fantastic day and more great memories.
There I was imagining my very first day as a young girl at Disney World, playing in an endless loop in my brain. But, WAIT, something happened in that endless loop.
My further thinking about this for a while made me wonder if I would get bored and tired of doing the same thing each and every day. Surely the glow would wear off after about ten repetitions, and after about 20, it might become drudgery. Maybe the feelings would change, just as Bill Murray’s character changed over the course of the repetition. Maybe we would become irritable and fight. Maybe I would long to move forward in life and see what next great thing is in store for me. I certainly wouldn’t want any part of a life that did not include my fabulous children, and my husband too.
And that my friends, is why that movie is so brilliant and worth seeing 15 times in my opinion. The changes that Bill Murray’s character went through is something very deeply psychological and profound.
I hope though that this got you thinking about your perfect day that you would want to repeat over and over. It is an interesting concept, even if the very best of days lose their luster in endless repetition.