Saturday, January 7, 2012

I Got Me, Babe


When I think of a new beginning, I think of the movie Groundhog Day. I know, wrong month. Wrong holiday. How strange!

Here's the movie in a nutshell: A blizzard strands a narcissistic newscaster in the small town where he's covering the annual Groundhog Day festival, featuring Punxsutawny Phil, a cute little groundhog who should have his driver’s license revoked. The newscaster and crew, including a lovely and perpetually optimistic producer named Rita, are forced to stay another night. Much to the newscaster’s confusion, he wakes the next morning and it's Groundhog Day again.

And again.

And again.

At first, Phil uses this strange phenomenon to gather information he can use to his advantage. He figures out the exact moment he can steal money from an armored car. He tries to seduce Rita by pretending to like the same things she likes. He even tricks a woman into having sex with him by asking her to marry him.

He’s a DAWG!!!

But as with all good heroes, Phil has a transformation. Eventually. First he has to feel frustrated, angry, and hopeless before he's ready to change. Then he realizes waking up to the same day is an opportunity instead of a curse. He has his new beginning.

Phil learns to play piano. He studies French Renaissance poetry. He performs random acts of kindness, saves a boy's life, makes friends, and learns how to love. What a great use of this new life he had been given.

I've certainly had times when I've felt like I was waking up to the same day again and again and again, wishing something was different. Anything. Everything. Having no clue what I wanted. And like Phil, one day I realized I too had an opportunity. I could continue waking up to I Got You, Babe on the radio, longing for something I couldn't name, or I could embrace my life and take some risks.

Making the most of my life doesn't have to be on a grand scale either. It can be as simple as scheduling a mani and pedi for a mother-daughter day, or allowing myself an afternoon to read a good book without feeling guilty about neglecting the things on my to-do list.

Then there have been riskier things I wanted to try, such as learning to tap dance (That’s another whole story, pregnant and dancing in a children’s recital with my best friend), getting my motorcycle license, taking belly dancing classes, writing a book. Allowing people to read my book.

Riskier things are harder because we have to overcome the fear of failing, or the fear of succeeding. Possible ridicule by others. Yet, the alternative to risktaking is waking up to the same old sameness day after day and taking an even bigger risk: missing our chance to live life to the fullest.

So, here we are in a new year, ours to do with however we see fit. The best gift ever. I hope this year is happy, healthy, and fulfilling for all.

Now, for me to be nosey. What is something you’ve always dreamed of doing, or something you already did that seemed risky at the time?

19 comments:

  1. I love Groundhog Day! I watch it every time it's on. I like to sing, and even though I've performed quite a bit, I haven't performed solo in a while. I'd like to do that again, though the idea is scary!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Shana,

    That's great! I'm terrified to sing in front of others, so I'm totally impressed. I hope you get an opportunity this year to sing for others. Doing what we love is what life is all about, imo. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I came out of a university creative writing program feeling strangely disconcerted, frankly overwhelmed by others' expectations. And I bailed. I let 20 years pass before I finally found the courage to write a book.

    Sourcebooks published TASTE ME last year. ;-)

    My challenge now? To do it again and again, despite the fear. That's where I'm finding my old competitive gymnastics experience coming in handy! Sometimes all you can do is throw yourself in the air and trust that you'll land - on your feet and not your head!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Competing in horse shows was pretty challenging, law school wasn't a walk in the park, running my own law practice is a continual roller coaster ride, but all of that pales in comparison to raising a kid on my own, or any other endeavor where your heart is on the line.

    The current looming challenge is the decision to move to San Diego and assist with the care of my 90-year-old parents. I loathe San Diego (sorry, but I do), and doing things I abhor is a theme in my life.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Tamara,
    I'm so glad you came back to writing. The reading world is a much better place with you in it.

    So you were a gymnast? That takes lots of discipline. Here's to sticking all the landings in your future.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've always thought I'd like to go back and 'still off that mash my brother and I had going in the cellar when we were teenagers just to see if the moonshine was any good!
    Risky then because Poppa found it. Riskier now because I don't know if they'd let me take my lap top to jail.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Grace,
    How true! The biggest challenges are the ones that risk our hearts. You must be a lady with amazing inner strength.

    I wish you the best with your parents. Maybe there are other options in San Diego to meet your parents' needs. More and more services are becoming available to allow folks to remain at home.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Carolyn,

    You wild woman!

    Being without the laptop does seem to be a good deterrent for would-be criminals. Hey! I think you may be on to a new "Scared Straight" program. Behave or it's 30 days without electronics. Egads!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Groundhog day is a fun movie. It was filmed in Woodstock, IL my husbands home town. Thanks for your inspiring post! Letting people read my writing has been and continues to be a risk. After writing about Scotland I'd love to visit it someday, but that requires a plane ride - scary!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Samantha ~ You know how terrified I am of the ocean. I mean, I will walk in up to my knees in it, but any further and I start to hear the Jaws' theme song in the back of my mind. My adventurous teenage son is a certified SCUBA diver. Every year he makes me face my fear and go snorkeling with him in the Caribbean, and every year - at some point - the fear starts to sink in and I can't get out of the water fast enough. I wish I could enjoy the ocean as much as he does and that I could share that with him, but I am a complete chicken.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I seem to have the thrill seeking gene. When I was a teenager I jumped off the roof of the house into the pool. At 18,in the early '70s, I took a solo trip from South FL to MI, through Canada and back down. Got lost in Harlem going through NYC. Later, joined the Army, scuba diving, I tried sky diving but no one will let me out of a plane. Law school was a slog but not very daring.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Amanda,
    Scotland would be so worth it! I hope you're able to get there some day soon. For me, the anticipation of flying is worse than the actual flight. Early morning flights sometimes help. Then I'm too tired to worry.:)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ava,

    I hear ya on the sharks. I blame Spielberg, although I'm no longer afraid of aliens. ;)

    I hope I'm brave enough to snorkle when we go on our trip this month. It would be a travesty to miss it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ella,

    I have an anti-thrill seeking gene when it comes to things that could result in dismemberment and pain. :D

    A long time ago, I was going to do a tandem jump from a plane. I had the gear on and everything. I was the next to go up. Just as the plane landed, a huge thundercloud rolled in from nowhere! I'm not joking. It had been a beautiful day and bam! I took that as a sign I wasn't meant to skydive.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I was a homemaker for 17 years. The kids were old enough not to really need me anymore so I stepped back into the workforce. Boy was that a shockingly, uncertain feeling.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Not long after I turned 30, I had three things on my bucket list --ride a motorcycle, play the piano, and write a book. I'm happy to say that I've accomplished all three--to varying degrees of success. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Lil,

    Entering the workforce again is a huge thing. I felt really out of my element when I changed jobs 7 years ago, and it was still the same profession!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Tracey,

    Good for you! I think the movie The Bucket List was a great motivator. It's the reason I began writing. Now I never have to look back and wonder why I didn't do something I've dreamed about for years. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love that movie! I only wish I had that kind of time! Maybe then I could get it right...eventually. The one thing still on my bucket list is to ride a horse on the beach. Not too late yet, but it's getting there...

    ReplyDelete