Thursday, February 2, 2012

Deja Bill

I’m cyclical. I have my routines and I like them. So it should come as no surprise that every February 2nd, along with millions of other Americans, I watch Groundhog Day. Every year, I see something different in it. This year, before even putting it in the DVD player, I recognize the self perpetuating rut that Bill Murray is stuck in. And I sympathize because I am also in a rut.

Unemployed, overweight, unproductive. Full of self pity, self woe and self hate.

Everyday is the same thing. I might not wake to Sonny and Cher every morning, but the metaphor rings out with truth. The alarm rattles my brain. Kids get up. Kids to school. Chores. Craft. Look for a job. Walk. Chores. Cook dinner. Chores. Go to bed and the cycle resets. If you say it quick enough it gets very chanty, like monks in prayer.

Nothing. Ever. Changes.

Bill Murray escaped from his rut by opening himself to new experiences and opportunities and love. I’ve got love. Being unemployed is certainly a new experience. And opportunities? Well, I’m not to sure about those.

The problem I seem to keep coming back to is that I feel I am not contributing to the house. I am here all day, doing wifely and motherly things, but I’m not bringing in money and our attempt to make a better financial future for ourselves is now being severely undermined.

When I left my job back in August I was confident that I would find something else. As August rolled into September and October, I was still determined, but more than a little worried. I started applying for jobs that I knew I wouldn’t like: waitress, night audit, retail. All jobs I’d did my time in before. And the sad thing is, I wasn’t hired for any of them. I wasn’t even called in for an interview. At a few places I was told I was too qualified. What the heck does that mean? I am too educated and therefore I can’t serve food. Seriously?

November came and with it company and the holidays. I put job hunting on the back burner and crossed my fingers that we’d be okay with just Scott’s salary. And it turns out we were okay. But only just. As before, we have no extra padding in our bank account. Each dollar, every penny is accounted for.

Should I have left my job knowing I had no job offer in the works? Yes. The commute alone would have killed the car and cost us in daycare expenses. Plus, I was unhappy in my work. I felt that I wasn’t making any difference in the lives of the students I taught. I grew frustrated by all the mandates from the district and state. And my frustration and anger was often taken out on Scott and the girls. It was the right decision for us to make. I am a much more pleasant person to be around now.

But still…I’m in this rut. And like Bill Murray, I sometimes despair at ever escaping it. Bill Murray eventually accepts responsibility for his actions and more importantly for his moral development. If he is to escape from a time loop, he must take action to make it happen for himself.

Eight years ago the commencement speaker at my college graduation said to us, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” Ten tiny powerful little words that I had never really thought about…until the other day when I was going through my letter box and each card my dad had sent me in the last eight years had this saying scrawled in the bottom left corner.

If it is to be, it is up to me.

If I am to escape from the rut that I am in then it is my own devices, intellect and actions that will make it happen. I cannot forever wait on the universe to go my way for in doing so I would be playing into a belief that the universe and all in it revolves around me and my wants.

So, Good-bye Rut. I’m tired of you and your silly nonsense. Today is the last day I allow myself to wallow. Yesterday I cried for something I did not have. Today, I scream to the world, what I want I can have if I make it happen.

Like Bill Murray, it is all up to me. My attitude needs to change. My habits need adjustment. My actions need to reflect my goals.

WWBMD – What Would Bill Murray Do?

I wonder if I can get that on a bracelet.


  1. Haha -- I ALSO view Groundhog Day (movie) as a metaphor for life. Being a cynic, how else COULD I view it? :-)