reflections on february, the movie ‘groundhog day’ and change

Groundhog Day Movie | groundhogday1.jpg

You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.” -Phil Connors, weatherman in Groundhog day

As February ends I’ll be doing a happy dance.

Having been stuck indoors so much, I recently watched the 1993 film Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray as weatherman Phil Connors. In a moment of zealous over-thinking, I had a beautiful moment of mundane enlightenment.

Everyday, for about 10 years, Phil Connors wakes up to the same day – February 2nd or February 25th or any day – in the endless stream of redundant, grey, blizzard around-the-corner, wind chill at-the-ready, cold, and foreboding type of February day. Insanity or assurance?

To me, this February feels like the one in the movie. Am I stuck in some type of metaphorical time loop? What is the message here?

In the movie, upon the realization that each day is the same, Bill’s character begins to experiment with the outcomes of different behaviors. He rebels, becomes hedonistic then suicidal, all without effect as he continues to open his eyes to the same next morning. Finally, assured that he can effect a different outcome, he begins to reexamine his life – changing bits and pieces in each day – slowly, and over time, until one day, he wakes up… and it’s over. He happily and successfully moves on to a new day.

When I relate the film, and its satirical comment on change, to my February, I can patiently tolerate the bleakness of the month. But, only if I think of the month in terms of a déjà vu  I’m supposed to spend time in. As the weather reiterates cold and grey, I understand this environmental drabness is meant to prevent outward distractions. Marooned indoors by the bitter wind chill, I am forced to look for the light of my own reflections. Like it or not, I have no choice but to examine my habits and come to terms with them. Are these habits taking me where I want to go? Am I doing, getting, being all that I want? If I want to break the cycle of the present, it takes baby steps toward a new future. Change is slow and repetitive over time. If I keep at it, the reward will arrive in one brand new day. Of course, the groundhog is the icon of hope I carry with me. Six weeks or six months to change (Bill Murray’s character took 10 years) what matters is – I stick with it.

As I look ahead, I am assured March is right around the corner. I find it interesting, the name of the next month is a verb –

March…

  • To walk steadily and rhythmically forward in step with others.
  • To begin to move in such a manner.
  • To proceed directly and purposefully.
  • To progress steadily onward; advance.

If February is a time of reflection, March seems to be the month made for action. Time to take some baby steps into the beginning of change.

How about you…any ideas for some brand new walking goals? Here’s a link to a post I wrote on walking – pros and cons, just in case you need some help to get started.

A brand new month is right around the corner, let’s work together to…

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reflection on one year of walking

My second year of walktalk will involve the commitment to less is more.

For instance…

  • Less miles in one outing. (Last year around this time I became over zealous, and was challenging myself with 6 and 7 miles at a time. Now, I can humbly say “been there, done that!” There’s nothing like the shocking look of worn out toe tips when flip flop season finally rolls around! (Will they ever look normal again? Why did I walk so much! You idiot, you broke them! Oops, sorry.)
  • Less speed in my walks. (Yup, again I will blame it on last year.) I was walking so fast trying to get my miles in under fifteen minutes and my heart rate up into a zone, that some of my walks were a blur. I’ve decided life is to short for blurry, hurried walks. Kudos to the slow movement. May I embrace the philosophy and apply it to all of my future walks.
  • Less worry about being retired. The funny thing is…once you finish agonizing over one of the most considered and calculated decisions in life, and you finally decide to tell people “Hey, guess what? I’ve decided to retire.” A lot of those people inadvertently respond with…”Oh! What will you do now?” And it seems to be said in a way that is somewhat full of urgent admonition; well meaning, yet infused with a pixel of panic; cautionary, but laced with a sprinkle of sorrow. I’m sure they mean well, it’s just that the emotional undertones can sound very similar to “oh no, you poor thing!” It would feel so much better if people said “good for you” or “congratulations” as a first response. Anyway, I’m happy to say I’m over all that- worrying about what I will do now. Yup, the world is my oyster! I’ve looked for the pearl long enough, now it’s my time to hold it in my hand.

I will acknowledge to myself that last year was the great experiment. Why do I say that? Because, as a newly retired freebird, spat out into the world, I went nuts with my walking. I did it because I could. And, I wanted to. I needed to explore and experiment, like a kid in a candy store. It was privilege and play. Liberation of my soul!

Ah, and thank goodness for reflection. All I have to do now is remap my route to get back on my path. Keep it simple! Let it be slow! Savor the change.

What about you? Any reflections on last year’s walks? Any new and improved ideas for this year? Maybe you will join me, as I dedicate 2015 to the theme…

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i walk because…

Create a personalized poster retirement gift

Year two of retirement and the questions keep coming…

Aren’t you bored? Not one minute.

Then you must be afraid? Nope, not really, not anymore.

Well then, what will you DO? I’ll do anything I want.

How will you pass the time? I’ll be in it – each and every moment.

Won’t your days be long? I hope so.

When will you get another job? This is my job.

 

Retirement has been one of the scariest changes I’ve faced in a long time. If you have ever had the feeling of finishing a workout or activity in which all of the muscles you’ve just used and fatigued are shaky and wobbly, well, that’s kind of like how year one was for me. Last year, I felt as if I was walking around all shaky and wobbly, all the time.

That’s when I decided to walk. I found a freeing strength in walking. Walking gave me direction and helped me move forward into the unknown, even though I had no idea where I was going. When I would feel anxious – I would walk. In the solitude of a walk, I dreamed of becoming a new person, but I had to realize it wouldn’t happen overnight.

Walking helped me cherish, savor, and honor space in the day.

Here I am at year two, and I am finally starting to feel like it’s OK if I enjoy this. I still don’t know where I’m going, but I kind of like that feeling now. There is a certain calm in accepting the awareness of not knowing. As I look back on last year, I realize, I did just fine without a huge plan.

My walking path has led me to this blog, it’s also introduced me to some new friends, who have been encouraging and supportive. Walking inspired me to hit the books, updating my knowledge and gaining a certification. Walking has given me confidence and peace.

It also helps that during some of my best walks, I’ve formulated some answers to those questions that still seem to pop up in conversations.

Roaming the streets and trails on this planet while traversing the highways and byways of my mind is teaching me – these are the best days, simply because I don’t know what the future holds and that’s OK. I enjoy the writing, I am drawn to the walking, and more importantly…I am not wasting my energy resisting change. I am shedding the old skin and letting myself become a new person.

How do you know you made the right decision?

Because…I can truly say “I am happy in these days of my life”.

small changes and falling down

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Nelson Mandela

I can’t imagine what Mr. Mandela would think if he knew I was using his words for inspiration on a walking blog, or even better – as a catalyst for incentive to find a way back to my healthy habits. I’m hoping a small scale, real life application of this quote wouldn’t upset him too much.

It never fails, every time I get going on the path I want, I will eventually encounter an impediment I didn’t plan for.  Instead of sticking to my plan, I end up reverting back to my old familiar patterns. The safe, easy, comfortable “old way of doing things” continue to keep me from navigating the steps of my goals without unbearable effort. If I don’t have just the right amount of inertia to move past the sticking point, they grab at me, slowing me down until I trip and fall.

Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents: Can I Sue?

Once down, I get mad, I beat myself up for awhile and think of myself as weak and undisciplined, blah-blah-blah. Woe is me, I’ve stumbled onto my own precipitous staircase of sabotage. I’m stuck, in a self-induced funk, a perplexing pity pot, I just can’t find the energy to climb up and out, what will I do now?

Take a breath, take a break, take a moment. Give myself a pep talk – Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I will try again tomorrow, because I want to do this. I will be gentle and kind to myself. I’m not perfect, but I don’t give up. It’s just a slip, a misstep, nothing permanent.

If I miss one day, it’s alright, it’s an exercise lapse, or a food recalculation. If one day turns into one week or one month, then I might need some help getting myself back on track.

There, I feel better already. Giving myself permission to fall down unburdens me, I feel lighter. Did I break anything? My spirit – is it OK? How about my ego? Just a bit of a bruise – won’t get in the way. All I need to do is brush off the negative self-talk and I think I can get back up. I want to try this again. I will try this again. Maybe I’ll make some adjustments this time, go for a smaller change.

That’s it. I tried to do too much too soon. I let go of valuing my health – but only for a short time.

My spirit’s up, and it feels good. I’ll make some small changes for tomorrow. Here I go…I’m moving again! With all due respect…thank you Nelson, for the kind words!

Inspirational Quote: "Failure doesn't come from falling down.  Failure comes from not getting up."

walking – pros and cons

Did you ever consider what would happen to you if you started walking regularly?

Take a moment to think about this, make a list if you want. Divide your list in half, and write “pros ” on one side and “cons” on the other. Then fill it in and see which you have more of. My guess is… at this stage, you might have more cons than pros. This is quite normal.

Let’s take a moment to look at the list further. This time, let’s spend some time re-examining those cons, really give them a good, hard look. Are there some cons that you “might” be able to work around? Hmm, let’s see…that one about “takes too much time”? Let’s think about this…how long does it actually take to walk a mile or less? (That’s right, 10-15 minutes.) So, out of 24 hours in a day, is it possible to squeeze this small amount of time in somewhere? Now the question becomes… where in the day could you try and walk for 10-15 minutes? Do you see how this works? You must be able to badger and question your cons like a prosecuting attorney!

If you are able to successfully impeach a con, let’s do it this way… flip it to a positive statement and slide it over to the pro side. For example, the “not enough time” con becomes “I can find 10 minutes after dinner.”

In all fairness, we spent extra time on the cons, so now we should inspect the updated pro list. As you study your pro list, take it all in.  I mean it…close your eyes, see your list and let your pro statements zoom around in the open emptiness of your mind. Breathe deeply. Allow your self to feel you motivating you. Do you feel the energy beginning? You are planting the seeds of change. Alright, open your eyes.

Now, ask yourself this question… “why am I not sure about starting to walk?”

12 Benefits of Walking