For a number of years, I have been posting the same Facebook status on February 2nd. It’s a quote:
When Chekhov saw the long winter he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among you and basking in the warmth of your hearths and hearts, I couldn’t imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.
Then I post it again on Feb 3rd. Then again on Feb 4th. And so on until it’s not funny anymore.
If you haven’t caught on, it’s a quote from the movie Groundhog Day posted on Groundhog Day. The movie is about a guy who’s stuck reliving the same day over and over again. So, see what I did there?… with the Facebook status…? It’s hilarious, just trust me.
It begs the question about what would it be like to relive the same day over again? Maybe more specifically, if I could choose to relive the same day over, would I, and why? It an interesting mental exercise that’s given me a few ideas to munch on:
I’m not sure I’d want to relive a day
Feb 2nd this year wasn’t necessarily the best day. I was very busy, especially the pressure of making sure I posted my annual Facebook status (whew!). We had a big project roll out at work. I had a chamber lunch I was in charge of leading. BBBS gave us tickets to a Predators hockey game, so went with my “Little” but missed out on going home. The severe storms coming through didn’t help. Then the baby had a rough night sleeping.
If I were to be given the opportunity to go back and relive that day, I don’t think I would take it. It was fine; it wasn’t disastrous. But there’s nothing that I feel compelled to go back and fix. Nothing worth experiencing again.
My dad isn’t necessarily known for wise proverbs, but one frequent phrase I remember more than any is, “that’s life.” Maybe it was more like, “well (chuckle)… that’s life, son.” As annoying as it is to hear when you’re a teenager, unfortunately, there’s wisdom in those two words. Life is going to happen whether you like it or not. If you attempted to relive a day, mishaps you didn’t anticipate might occur, and they probably will because… that’s life.
As fun as it is to think that you could go back and re-do a day better, who’s to say that you won’t stub your toe getting out of bed this time around? Then that stupid toe is driving you crazy, hijacking your ability to perfect your former actions. (I specifically use ‘stub your toe’ in honor of my wife who… how should I say this?… has poor pedal extremity spatial awareness.)
It’s never as good the second time around
You know when you get this delicious, juicy, perfectly grilled bacon cheeseburger, and it’s so good you go get a second one. We’ve all done this, right? And the first bite of the second one is great, but by the time you finish, you feel miserable (but still a happy miserable.) It’s rarely as good the second time around.
The restaurant that was good, but now you’re sick of. The movie that was hilarious the first time, and moderately pleasant the second. Most things have an expiration date, or at least, limitations on the number of uses.
You don’t know the alternative outcomes
If I had to pick an event to relive, it may be when I attempted to give my now-wife our first kiss. I’ll spare you the details unless you want to know, but it could’ve gone better. BUT WHO KNOWS?! It was early in our relationship, maybe going back to try again would throw off the line of events to follow, i.e. the Butterfly Effect. Many great stories are told emphasizing the strange path that took them to an unforeseen but positive conclusion. Maybe it would be better, maybe it wouldn’t. Even in the worst possible scenario that you’d like to go back and change, you could feasibly come up with an outcome that would be even worse (as horrible as that might be.)
So on that high note…
Stop looking back
Of course, this concept is all fantasy. The past is going to stay right where it is and nothing can change it. Looking back and worrying about what happened is worthless. A small amount of time to evaluate mistakes can be helpful, but dwelling on it is ill-advised and wasteful.
Make it right
Some of my best consumer experiences have been when someone took a bad situation and went above-and-beyond to make up for it. If yesterday was bad, you have the opportunity to not only overcome, but capitalize on a chance to turn it around.
If you really screwed up, don’t let foolish pride get the best of you. There is a certain wholeness that can only be found through an apology.
Don’t leave it to chance
Few of us realize how much power we hold to make an impact. We have the capacity to make a difference in our own lives and the lives of those around us. Allowing days to pass us by without appreciating this ability is pure waste. Forget yesterday and take advantage of the clean slate in front of you.
Life is not a pencil where you can erase your mistakes or a computer where you can go back and edit. It’s more like a pen. When you write, if you mess up, there’s nothing you can do about it. But you keep on writing because the story isn’t finished yet. And the best stories are full of ups and downs. Learn from mistakes; cherish awesome days.
Mercies are new every morning.