Groundhog Day 2023: Better next time

Well, it's Groundhog Day... again.
And it's amazing to think a year has passed since my last Groundhog Day reflection. I guess after one watches a film many many times through the years, things start to blend together in memory. In fact, I find these writings have also become a review of what I've written before, if at least so I don't repeat something I've already pondered before.

This year I had a topic in mind before that alarm clock hit 06:00, but that's not what I ended up reflecting on today nor what I'm writing about now. Before I even saw the sun rising this morning, my thoughts wandered in another philosophical Groundhog Day direction.

As we all often do in our days, I had a number of things go not so well today. Of the many minor things which occurred, I'll list three events which are most prominent and useful for discussion.
The first was that I hit my head pretty hard while hurrying to catch a bus... I can still feel the bump more than 15 hours later. The second I'll mention was when I dropped a cupcake that I was looking forward to snacking on. The third and last event I'll mention was a bus ride at the end of the day that ended up being caught in traffic, having the exit for my stop closed, and therefore reaching my stop almost an hour after its scheduled time.
Each of these events were certainly unfortunate, but felt different today thanks to a small bit of Groundhog Day perspective.

After the first event, when I hit my head, I was quite upset. It hurt really bad -- and honestly still is quite tender to the touch. Even so, the circumstances for the occurrence were completely understandable. It just happened to be that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thanks to my thoughts being philosophical today, I found myself thinking, "I'll remember to avoid this occurrence 'next time around'." The idea being as if the day would repeat and I could simply avoid the mistake altogether. That shift in perspective allowed me to laugh at the silliness of the mistake and move on with my day with an added smile. Still a bump on my head, but at least not dwelling on negative thoughts.

Later, during/after some other minor similar unfortunate experiences, I kept a similar perspective. Carrying on "knowing" that I'll just do better next time. By the time I dropped the cupcake which I was very excited to eat, I had internalized that perspective and laughed aloud at the dropped cupcake. I recovered and ate what I still could, then said aloud, "OK. No hitting my head. No [makes motions with hands] while attempting to eat cupcake."

And, finally, after the diverted and delayed bus ride, I departed the bus, smiled and said, "No hitting head, no dropping cupcake, taking [alternate bus route] instead of [delayed bus route]."
I knew none of these notes would be directly applicable, as the day is unlikely to repeat as it does for Phil Connors in the film Groundhog Day [TMDB]. However, I have found this mindset to be freeing today and perhaps something I'll carry forward into the future.

As I think back on my day today and the bumps (literally) along the way, I feel lighter in mindset about the permanence of the choices and experiences we make in our one brief life. Mistakes happen; it's our reaction and recovery from those mistakes which define us, not the mistakes themselves. So, maybe, the next time I hit my head and wish I hadn't, I'll remember that I can still do better next time. And I will. As long as we keep trying, we will each do better next time.

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