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What Makes a Fulfilling Life? Learning Perspective From Punxsutawney Phil
his month, we celebrate Groundhog Day, a truly unique holiday in which we ask a groundhog to predict the changing seasons. I grew up in Pittsburgh, which is about two hours from
“No matter what situation we find ourselves in, we have the power to choose how we’re going to respond to it.”
Punxsutawney, home of Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog. I visited Punxsutawney once years ago for a friend’s wedding. It was a friendly small town, though we unfortunately did not see Phil during our visit.
Eventually, Phil decided to use his knowledge about what will happen that day to help other people in town. He also tries to better himself, using his limitless time to learn to play the piano and speak Italian. Phil even
Despite studies by the National Climatic Data Center showing that Punxsutawney Phil is only right 40% of the time, many people still flock to Punxsutawney to celebrate. I think the continued popularity of this strange holiday is owed in part to the movie “Groundhog Day.” I’ve seen “Groundhog Day” multiple times —who doesn’t love Bill Murray? — and each time I’m impressed by the message of the film. What I like most about “Groundhog Day” is how it shows the value of perspective.
learns to love Punxsutawney. By changing his perspective about his situation, Phil starts to enjoy life more and becomes a more kind and likable person. As a result, other people want to be around him, and he’s able to break the time loop in the end. I really like how“Groundhog Day” shows the power of our own perspective. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, we have the power to choose how we’re going to respond to it. When things don’t go our way, we can complain about how unfair life is, or we can look for new opportunities to change things for the better. We can make the best of things. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Someone once told me that if you pick your favorite day and it’s farther back than a few weeks, then you’re not living life to the fullest.
At the beginning of the movie, Bill Murray’s character, a weatherman named Phil, is really down on Punxsutawney. He’s been sent there to cover the Groundhog Day festivities and makes no secret about how much he hates the town and the assignment. Basically, he’s just a very unpleasant person. When Phil first realizes he’s in a time loop, he responds selfishly by drinking and stealing because he knows there will be no consequences. However, this kind of behavior only leads him to feel depressed. Phil tries to kill himself several times but always wakes up to relive Groundhog Day.
If your favorite day is a childhood Christmas, then what have you been doing on Christmas since then? If it’s your wedding day, then what about all the other days spent with your spouse? Every day might not be fireworks and holidays, but whether or not that day is valuable is a matter of perspective. A fulfilling life doesn’t have to be a nonstop adventure. It can be filled with days spent at home with your partner or going to the park with your children. When you adopt the perspective that your life is fulfilling, then that’s what you experience.
-Marc L. Shapiro
It shouldn’t take being trapped in a time loop to learn how to adopt a better perspective on life. There might be no tomorrow, so shouldn’t we learn to enjoy life today?
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