One of the ways we humans in the northern hemisphere “live funny” in a weird way is acknowledging and celebrating Groundhog Day – a day when a man or woman in a top hat pulls a large rodent (the groundhog) out of its burrow and asks it when spring is starting this year. These predictions are reported on the news, and we may even chat with friends in other countries that do this and ask: “what did your groundhog say?” What do groundhogs say anyway? Do they actually say anything?
Qualities of a Groundhog
Let’s think about some of the qualities of a ground hog. The groundhog is somewhat reclusive. One might even say it’s a shy animal. When the one that was in my parents’ garden was stealing the tomatoes, it didn’t seem shy about it, but it also went undetected for weeks. That leads to my next point. Groundhogs like fruits and vegetables. So do I, but that isn’t why the groundhog is such a noble animal, and quite possibly a shy introvert. When we think about how groundhogs throughout North America are asked to predict the start of spring every February 2nd, the groundhog encounters the classic introvert’s dilemma: “should I stay in or should I go out? I’d rather stay in, but it might be good for me to go out. I’ll just stay in.” And who would blame the poor groundhog? It’s cold outside! The truth is, I think the groundhog is an introvert because there’s no way he’d poke his head out until he was ready (as in Spring already being here). The fact that a human has to reach in and pull the groundhog out of a hole in order to predict the weather is proof of that.
Also, the groundhog seems to be afraid of its shadow. So am I. Maybe it’s that we’re both wild animals, rather than both being introverts. I’ll let you make up your own mind about that.
Predicting the Weather
A groundhog can predict the weather, or more specifically the change of season without any technological equipment. That is amazing! (I don’t know their accuracy compared to a human with technology, but if anyone knows, please tell me. I’m curious about that.) I think this animal is much smarter than we give it credit for. I think groundhogs also know Santa Claus on a personal level, and they probably direct the movements of the elves on the shelves. I wonder sometimes if I can predict when spring is coming. I’d say it’s less like a prediction and more like me ordering winter to go away. Picture this, I’m scraping ice off my car’s windshield for the thousandth time this winter, and I shout into the bitter winter wind thinking my neighbours can’t hear me: “Okay winter, you’re done! It’s over between us! Let spring have a chance now!!” And the neighbours are probably thinking “there goes that ‘funny’ neighbour again trying to change the weather”.
Living the same day over and over, like the movie
There’s a movie from a little while back called Groundhog Day, and in the movie, Bill Murray’s character has no choice but to live the same day over and over again. Do you ever feel like that? Back when I had a full-time job, I felt like that quite often; especially in winter. The only way I knew it was a different day was because I was wearing different clothes. I may have also asked my colleagues what day it was more than once throughout the day, or “it feels like Friday” but it was only Wednesday (at least it wasn’t Tuesday). I was too young (and still am) to forget what day it is, but you understand that it happens when life becomes too routine and doesn’t have enough variety.
Just like in the movie, whenever this happens, I suggest changing things up a bit. You have to be the one to make the changes. Coaches around the world, your best friend, and your parents all have great ideas about how to switch up your routine, and you’re the one who gets to make it happen. It could be as small as having your daily glass of red wine out of a different glass, or drinking your beer from a glass instead of a can. Don’t worry; groundhogs don’t drink, so you won’t have to share.
If you’re a funny person like me, this lack of variety and the desire to find some variety can cause your creative juices to flow in a direction that is far away from what your actual job is. I’ll give you some examples:
- Making jokes among your colleagues, forgetting that the boss’s office door is open
- Inadvertently and unconsciously (your brain is getting in on this too) putting your shirt on inside out and not realizing it until lunch.
- Predicting the weather and the first day of spring as if you know anything about how to do that, and you’re convinced that you’ve got people convinced that you’re right!
- Write a blog article about groundhogs as if you know something about groundhogs and groundhog traditions
- You think of all the reasons you should get a raise, and write out all the reasons on a piece of paper. You’ll be telling your boss all about it tomorrow.
- You finally get around to creating your performance goals, and you’ve got some good ones, like: get promoted, get a raise, have lunch with the CEO, use up your red pen by the end of the second quarter. There are no limits when you’re in your creative zone!
- You come up with the best idea yet for your company’s “possibly get a bonus for coming up with an idea” contest and you’re SO going to win it this year! (I’m so proud of you).
I hope that with this article, you’re well prepared for this year’s Groundhog Day, and if you’re reading this after Groundhog Day, I hope it brings up some fond memories of the day for you.
Do you have any things you do to spark your creativity? Feel free to share!