Groundhog Day: Start from where you are

When we run a race, do we start at the finish line?

Of course not. We begin at the starting line, run every step (maybe walk a few), and cover all the ground in between.

Why do we want to start at the finish line in other areas of our lives? And why do we expect other people to be standing at the finish line before they have run the race?

Parents do this all the time. Children pass through difficult phase after difficult phase, with parents wishing each phase away:

  • “When will this baby ever (take a bottle . . . sleep through the night . . . wean from the breast . . .)?”
  • “When will my toddler ever (potty train . . . stop throwing temper tantrums . . . give up the soother . . .)?”
  • “When will my child ever (stop crying every day at school . . . learn to read . . . stop sucking her thumb . . .)?”
  • “When will my teenager ever (do his homework on time . . . clean up that pigsty of a room . . . stop doing drugs . . .)?”

We want our children to be perfect, fully formed people without letting them run the race.

We adults have unrealistic expectations of ourselves too. We want to be in some other better place instead of where we are.

Whether it’s losing ten pounds, playing “Moonlight Sonata” on the piano, finishing a jigsaw puzzle, or writing a book, we can’t start at the finish line. We have to run the race, go through the process.

I’m thinking about this on Groundhog Day.

This is a picture of a groundhog in summer – not in winter in Ottawa, Canada, where I live.

No respectable groundhog is showing his face around here any time soon.

I LOVE the movie (it might be my favourite of all time), but the day? What a ridiculous idea. We can’t skip over winter to get to spring. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE SIX MORE WEEKS OF WINTER NO MATTER WHAT! This is Canada, for goodness sake. Nature has to run the race.

We can’t start at finish line. That’s the theme of the movie. Settle in. Take steps over and over. You’ll get there.

All the groundhogs in this field are snoozing under the snow.

12 thoughts on “Groundhog Day: Start from where you are

  1. flirtiegirl

    I feel a little like I have just been told there is no Santa Claus. A groundhog isn’t a real prognosticator of spring? But who else am I to pin my desperate hope on?

    Reply
  2. marianbeaman

    I just read a Willa Cather quote: “The end is nothing. The road is all.” Your post suggests that you too believe that to some extent.

    Thanks for posting photos. I would love to spend some time in Ottawa right now, enjoying the winter white. Maybe sledding down a hill, returning to childhood memories. But just for a day or so.

    Reply
  3. Ally Bean

    You get pretty snow where you are. We sometimes do, but many years it is grayish, not white. What that has to do with starting where you are, I’m not sure but there’s probably a message in it. Like stay inside until spring.

    Reply
    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Ha, ha. I have to confess that the picture was taken last year about this time, but the snow this year does look about the same. I’m about to head out to go skiing in it. I take the opposite view of winter – get out and enjoy it as much as possible. Good, warm clothing is the key to loving winter.

      Reply
  4. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

    Ha, ha. I have to confess that the picture was taken last year about this time, but the snow this year does look about the same. I’m about to head out to go skiing in it. I take the opposite view of winter – get out and enjoy it as much as possible. Good, warm clothing is the key to loving winter.

    Reply
  5. roughwighting

    YES YES YES. You are so wise and thanks for the reminder. I really dislike Groundhog Day. (But like you the movie is one of favorites.) On Groundhog Day my daughter texted me (and she’s usually a very serene woman) I HATE GROUNDHOG DAY!! We have frigid temps and lots of snow on the ground. As you say, no matter what, we have lots more winter in front of us before we get to Spring. And in NE, we don’t “feel” spring until May. So, we need to find some Huggle and enjoy what nature brings us! ❤

    Reply
    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Ha ha. Your daughter’s message made me smile. All caps and an exclamation point!. I resorted to all caps in my post too. Groundhog Day inspires strong feelings!
      As I write this, I can look out my window at huge, fluffy snowflakes falling. It’s really beautiful. I will enjoy it – for at least six weeks.

      Reply
  6. karen

    Loved and laughed at “for goodness sake this is canada. Nature has to run the race”. I have always been a “the grass is greener/winter’s gotta be warmer over there” kinda girl. Kabat-Zinn was correct: “wherever you go there you are”.
    Lovely post with a gentle reminder to enjoy the present moment.

    Reply
    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I’m so behind on replying to comments! Last week was a busy week – I was running the race. And not so much enjoying the moment. Coming to your comment a week later is a good reminder to re-centre myself.

      Reply

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