‘Groundhog Day’

“You can’t start the next chapter in your life if you keep re-reading the last one.”

No-one seems to know where that quotation came from. A shame as it’s very profound.

You and I and everyone else spend a lot of time thinking about the past – or re-reading the current or previous chapters.

But you and I also want to move on.

Either to start the next chapter straight away or to ‘finish’ the current one.

A friend of mine who is the same age (and we’re both drawing a state pension) recently wrote his “25-year plan” for the future.

Probably the next book rather than just a chapter!

And, he’s changed things and made a start.

But many people I know, and many who are several years younger, seem to be stuck in the same chapter of the same book of their lives.

Like ‘Groundhog Day’ it restarts every time they reach the ‘end’ and although each ‘reading’ of the chapter isn’t identical it’s still the ‘same’.

You know how it is when you watch a movie or read a book several times – there’s always something there that you ‘missed’ before or previously interpreted in a different way. But in the end it’s still the same book or film.

Life can be like that. People go over the same ground over and over again, follow the same paths, encounter the same obstacles and have the same successes.

Of course it happens slightly differently each time. But until you and I start the next chapter or open a new book, the end result, on the whole, of every day, week, month and year, is going to be much the same.

Yes, people can make ‘changes’ like moving house or going to live in another town or country. But if they take their current ‘book’ with them and continue reading the ‘chapter’ they’re on then it isn’t going to make much difference.

I know, I’ve done it. I’ve thought I was starting ‘a new life’ or a new book/chapter but it didn’t really happen because I was ‘stuck’ in the current one.

On the other hand, I have started ‘new books’ with some success from time to time and indeed found myself ‘reading’ more than one book at the same time – although I was probably stuck on one chapter in each book.

Some of those books I’ve finished, and some are no longer in my ‘library’.

Now I’m not saying that you and I should discard all of what has gone before.

There’s no harm in looking back on our successes and our mistakes as we learn from both and we don’t want to throw away that knowledge.

Provided of course you and I remember that we’re no longer ‘in’ those chapters of those books any more, but in a different chapter of a different book, and simply apply our knowledge and experience from the previous ‘books’ to whatever we are doing now.

So how do you and I make the move to the next chapter or the next book?

And do we want to?

There are people who are happy and content with how things are now, who don’t want to change. That’s great, but are they on the last chapter of the last book?

There are people (not you and I) who just accept things as they are even though they aren’t happy and content. Maybe they’re just not reading?

But if, like me, you’re ready for a new chapter or a new book what’s the next step?

You know when, you’re reading a book and you flip through the pages or look at the contents list to see how many more chapters there are?

And you know when you’re watching a TV series you check to see how many more episodes there are until you get to the end of the ‘story’?

Well just check your ‘book’ and see what’s left.

Maybe like my friend and his 25-year plan, you need to get a new book.

Take a look at your ‘dreams’, ambitions, and goals and see if the chapter your on now and the rest of the book you’re in now is going to take you there.

Maybe it’s time to put down the current book.

Maybe it’s time for me to put down mine.

P.S. There are six simple questions you can ask yourself to check out whether you’re on the right track with your current ‘reading’. But that’s another story.