In second grade, we were instructed to cut out these paper groundhogs and paste them onto a brown paper bag. Then, my teacher had these yellow pieces of paper where we were to guess “yes” or “no.” As in…will the groundhog see his shadow? Back then, we would pray the groundhog would see his shadow so we would have more chances of snow days. It’s silly to think that we would rely on Mr. Groundhog to see his shadow for the benefit of all school aged children. We depended on him for a better tomorrow, if not we put our heads down in defeat. He was a motivating factor to our small wishes. He stimulated our ambition to bring one minute of happiness. He told us the future and we believed him! He was the furry Santa Claus.
As adults, we know that Groundhog Day is designed to be a fun holiday to keep the tradition alive. We know now that the Groundhog is not reliable. We know that the Groundhog does not tell the future. And that the Groundhog is nothing but an irritating symbol that winter will be around until at least April. (Especially if you live in the Midwest!) The mammal is trivial to the adult world, but a symbol of hope for children. As adults, we don’t necessarily believe in imaginary powers. But who are we to take that innocence from young minds. As adults, we have stressors that affect our daily life and make it difficult to get through one day. There are days when you don’t want to get out of bed. There may be days you find yourself crying in the bathroom stall because work cannot get any worse than it is right now. We don’t have a Groundhog to believe in anymore, we have bills to pay, stomachs to feed, and people to impress.
Without Mr. Groundhog to stimulate our internal drive, what is our modern-day groundhog?
For the past few years, I have been struggling through this adult world. After college, it was new and exciting. I got a job, bought my first car, and essentially had no bills or loans. So you can say, I was living care free. You could find me at Target or Michaels, browsing the aisles because that’s what I did for fun. (And STILL do for fun.) But that was my life. I worked 3 nights a week, every 3rd weekend, and I commuted into the city. From living care free, I plummeted into an abyss of the unknown. I found myself crying in my driveway because I didn’t want to go to work, on top of the 1 hour and 45 minute commute. I would pray the rosary and make trips to the chapel, asking even pleading for help. Help to get me out of misery. I thought it was due to the stress of night shift and the awful commute. I fell asleep for maybe 1 second on a Chicago expressway and was jolted awake. I can still feel the fear that electrified my veins and the distress that consumed my soul. I could have died. I could have killed someone. It was a startle to get me back on track and analyze what am I doing with my life. Is this what life is supposed to be like?
I’ll be honest, this past year and a half have been a challenge. I experienced job transitions and my wedding. Moved here and there and couldn’t get my mind straight. I’m not ready to share what was shattering me, because it’s hard to put into words. During this time I was faced with the question am I living or am I existing? I felt connected to existing because I did not seem to be making a difference in the world. I was just an “extra” on a movie set. Someone you looked over because I did not bring anything special to the table. So then I was asked “what motivates you?” I was stumped. I did not have an answer. I made something up, smiled and changed the subject. So it brings me to my groundhog…
What is my groundhog? What motivates me everyday? What gets me up in the morning? What gets me excited to start my day? Up until recently, I was dragging my feet. Hitting snooze ten million times. The whole package. I remember reading a quote that made me change my mindset : “Your circle should want to see you win. Your circle should clap loudly when you have good news. If not, get a new circle.” This spoke to me. I needed guidance and support I made the conclusion that life is short, and it shouldn’t be spent with negative people and an unfulfilling career. I wanted to gain back control of my life. I recognized that I was the most happiest when I fully connected with someone and was acknowledged for my hard work.
My groundhog is me. I have the power to create happiness, because it all depends on the quality of my thoughts. I lived in other people’s worlds. I played an “extra” in their life and I accepted as my life from now on. With my groundhog being my internal ambition, I have the power to look over “my shadow” and make it into an opportunity. I get up everyday knowing I will have a good day because I’m in control of my happiness. I know I will have a good day of work because I am a hard worker who goes above and beyond.
Your circle should want to see you win. Your circle should clap loudly when you have good news. If not, get a new circle.
Some people could mention that their children is their groundhog, or money, fear of failure, the need to succeed, or something as simple as paying off loans. Your groundhog motivates you to get up everyday and gives you life. Your groundhog symbolizes your inspiration to get up every day. It embodies your strength to do hard work and make a difference.
So whether or not Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow or not, just be reminded that the future is dependent on your thoughts.
6 more weeks of winter is nothing compared to the joys that are planned for you.