If you haven’t seen the movie Groundhog Day, I strongly encourage you to see it. I think it’s Bill Murray’s best work. The movie is funny enough on it’s face, but if you look beyond the gags the allegory is really poignant. I don’t think it gives away the plot to suggest that the point is that until you’re willing to take some risks and take action to change your life you’ll be living the same day over-and-over even if the calendar date changes.
That was certainly the case for me. There were lots of external changes in my life. I went from being in school to being in grad school to being in the Army to being back in school to getting a job and so it went. I was married. I was not married. I was married again. And so it went.
I changed jobs, changed careers, changed the geography of my life and yet, sooner or later, everything that I had been became everything that I was: again. Like so many people I weighed too much, I ate too much, and I drank too much. So I tried eating less, drinking less, cutting out carbs and fats and protien. I ate nuts and bananas, eggs and cheese, fat free yogurt and low fat peanut butter. For a while.
But who I was always resurfaced. It didn’t matter what I did to the outside of myself the inside of me stayed the same. I was going around in circles. Every day was the same day. It was the movie Groundhog Day and I was the star.
It all changed the day I took my first run. It was more of a walk, or a waddle, or a stumble. It was movement. Forward movement. And even though I ended up where I started out I knew that I had gone somewhere. That experience of moving – slow, steady, relentless moving – was new. Something was changing. Slowly, for sure, but changing. I was changing. With each run I got farther away from who I’d been and closer to who I was becoming.
So when I watch Bill Murray finally come to grips with the truth that the biggest problem in his life was that he was the one living it, I smile. When I remember all the excuses I had for not being active, for not eating better, for not living a life with more purpose, I smile. It was never relationships or bosses or experiences that help me back. It was me.
If your life feels like Groundhog Day, I understand. I’ve been there. I lived there.
But I can tell you that it doesn’t have to stay that way. Life can change. YOU can change. And you can do it with nothing more than your own two feet.
An Accidental Athlete is available in print and ebooks versions now. BUY THE BOOK
What others are saying: Looking for some motiviation to start running and improve your fitness? You’re sure to find some inspiration from John Bingham’s new memoir, “An Accidental Athlete.” As an overweight, uninspired pack-and-a-half-a-day smoker, Bingham realized that he had to make some changes in his life and began running at the age of 43. With wit and humor, Bingham recounts his journey from couch potato to self-proclaimed “adult on-set athlete.”– ESPN Gear Guide