Every year on Groundhog Day, along with waiting for the verdict on the length of winter from the world’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, TV stations across the country dust off the 1993 movie Groundhog Day. In the film, weatherman Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) relives the same day over and over again until he gets it right through hard work, self awareness, and sacrifice.
Some believe Groundhog Day illustrates the concepts of Buddhism and achieving enlightenment. The movie’s writer, Danny Rubin, understands the connection to Buddhist beliefs, but says he didn’t design the story around any one faith. “Everybody seems to bring their own way of thinking and their own discipline to bear on the ideas within it,” Rubin says.
Regardless of your religious persuasion, here are a few universal truths for living we can all take from Groundhog Day:
1. Be kind to others. On Phil’s “perfect day,” he saves a child’s life, helps two women change a tire, gives a newlywed couple wrestling tickets, and completes many other good deeds. He even buys insurance from annoying salesman, Ned. Bing!
2. Try different things. If your life becomes a redundant cycle of work and sleep, there’s still time to try new things. Take up ice sculpting or learn to play piano; you never know when it will come in handy.
3. You can’t fight the weather — or who you are. Ironically, Phil the weatherman tries to deny the coming blizzard because it’s inconvenient. Only when he accepts his situation does he begin to evolve. Work with what you have.
4. To find real love, work on you. Phil learns everything about his love interest Rita, down to her favorite ice cream. But what she really falls in love with is his passion for life.
5. Life is what you make it. As Rubin says, at first for Phil it’s “the worst day of his life. And, by the end of the movie, we see that it’s the exact same day, but somehow this is probably the best day of his life.”