I rented a movie the other night called Before I Fall. Apparently it is based on a book, but I hadn’t heard of either but the description sounded interesting so I decided to rent it. The story is a pretty simple Groundhog Day-style plot, although the movie was a drama, not a comedy. In the movie, the main character is a teenage girl and we see her repeat the same day over and over again as she participates in bullying an outcast, ignoring the nice guy who has a crush on her, and getting into other various high school troubles. Although it is hard to figure out where the movie is going, the ending is also pretty evidently going to be once she figures out whatever lesson she is supposed to learn then she will get herself out of the loop.
At one point during the repeated day, the character is sitting in a class learning about Sisyphus. If you don’t remember your Greek mythology, Sisyphus was the king of Ephyra who was doomed by Zeus to spend his time in the Underworld pushing a boulder up a hill for all eternity because of his deceitfulness. Spending all time trapped in a useless effort full of unending frustration.
The movie made me think of a few things. Obviously, in real life we don’t repeat the same day over and over again until we learn the lesson, or at least we don’t in such a clear cut way as the movies would demonstrate. But I do think we can find ourselves in repeating patterns until we learn whatever lesson we aren’t supposed from the situation. Have you ever found yourself dating the same person over and over again even when you are actually dating different people? For some reason, you keep attracting the same type of person with the same issues into your romantic life until you learn the lesson. This can be true not just for romantic relationships, but friendships, work, lifestyle, habits, etc.
Here’s where I think the choice comes in. We can chose to pause and reflect when something isn’t working out the way we want it, especially if it doesn’t feel like we are living our best lives or we can be like Sisyphus, pushing the same boulder uphill for the rest of our lives. Personally, I’d rather learn the lesson and get myself out of the loop of the repeating day. Of course, this can be a challenge too because, even if the pattern feels bad, at least it feels familiar. Choosing to make positive changes and get into unfamiliar and uncharted territory can feel very scary at first, but I think that’s when it is time to lean in and push forward. Even if it might feel like you are pushing a boulder up a hill sometimes, the truth is if you learn from it, I bet the view from the top of that hill is beautiful and the boulder will have made you much stronger on the way up.