This last Wednesday was Groundhog Day. If you’re familiar with the clip above, you know this particular holiday is the one Bill Murray’s character is forced to relive, over and over and over, in the eponymous 90’s film. He’s stuck in a repeating loop. At first, he finds it maddening — he’s miserable. But then, eventually, he finds ways to use it to his advantage.
During his time in this time loop, he falls in love with his co-worker. She has no idea he’s living on repeat; for her, it’s only one single day. And unfortunately, on that one single day, they do not have a good relationship. He’s a bit of a jerk, and she does not like him. She doesn’t know he’s gone through growth during his days, weeks (years?) of living the same day over and over. So what does he do?
He uses the time to get to know her.
He takes every day, repeated constantly, to learn more about her, until he finally decides to tell her about his predicament. As you can see from the clip above, his efforts seem to have a great effect. He knows her deeply, he loves her, and she seems to feel that love when he tells her all he seems to magically know and appreciate about her.
This has always struck me as so utterly lovely. While most of us might not be actually stuck in a literal time loop, how many of us feel the repetition of our days as a slog? How often do we feel our lives, or our relationships, maybe aren’t as exciting as we’d like? We have the same schedule every day. We eat at the same time every day. We go to work (or log in to zoom) at the same time every day. And our partner does the same. This can start to feel tedious, and even put a strain on our relationship if we let it.
But what we see from this film, tongue-in-cheek though it may be, is that there is real power in repetition. What would that repetition look like if you were to view it as an opportunity, rather than a burden? How could you learn more and more about your partner by taking advantage of the sameness you experience every day? What can you ask them, how can you surprise them, what can you observe that you might have been missing before?
Thankfully, we do have the freedom that comes with the passage of time. We can switch up our routine if we feel we need it. Take a day off, try a new restaurant, play a new game. But still, let us not view the comfort of a reliable schedule as a problem — let us find out how we can use it to our advantage, how we can grow our relationship in it, and how we can grow ourselves.
Often, it’s all about perspective.