Same as It Never Was


February is a month for hearts, flowers, and of course … groundhogs. Yes, you can be certain that everywhere you go until around the 15th of this month, the world will be awash with heart-shaped everything, and a whole lot of red and pink. Count on it.

However, before St. Valentine or Cupid or whomever works their romantic magic, the groundhog will have his (or her, here in Michigan) say about the future – at least as it pertains to weather. Who cares if the little rodents have a less-than-40-percent accuracy rate, they will have their say. Count on it.

Phil and Cupid have a lot in common: every February, we humans build up expectations around these two beloved icons.

We want more winter or an early spring. Phil’s track record doesn’t seem to matter, either, because we want something to go on, or plan around.

We want love and romance, and if we are Valentine-less on this holiday, Cupid is making an important statement about us as humans: no Valentine = we are destined to roam the earth alone – like The Incredible Hulk. Just read some of the heartbreaking Facebook posts made by singles on February 14.

Yes, Phil and Cupid are among a long list of things around which we build expectations. From what I’ve learned, expectations are but pre-meditated resentments.

Things rarely go just the way we expect, and certainly not the way they “always have.” Valentine’s Day can come and go without a heart-shaped box of candy and a Hallmark declaration of undying love. The world will keep turning – this I know.

The first day of spring may bring a blizzard or a torrent of robins. Someone may forget my birthday, which is February 4, in case you were wondering.

I plot and plan and work myself into a frenzy over how great (fill-in-the-blank) is going to be, and I have it all choreographed in my mind before it happens. When the holiday, vacation or what-have-you comes, and inevitably does not go exactly the way I imagined, I’m disappointed. The truth is, I can ruin a lot of wonderful moments this way. Things happen the way they’re supposed to, which is not always – in fact, it’s rarely – according to my vision.

I guess I learned that last fall. For a whole year, one of my besties and I had planned our annual runner-girl group-trip to Detroit. This time, instead of the usual four-to-six rowdy gals, it was just two of us. People got married, had babies; you know, lived their lives – changes that made it impossible to re-create the previous years’ level of merriment.

So, she and I spent the first part of that weekend lamenting about how “different” this was from trips past. We almost missed having a great time. We were both there; but we did a lot of, “This would be so great if (friend) was here.” We were trying to re-create the past. That never works. It wouldn’t have worked even if our band of rowdy running mates had been with us.

Nothing stays the same. You can waste a lot of time being sad about change, or you can embrace it. Ironically, I keep thinking about the movie Groundhog Day. Bill Murray’s character wakes up every morning to live the exact same day. As he repeats that day, nothing changes around him. But he changes. And that ends up being a wonderful thing.

Whatever happens on February 2 or 12, or any other day for that matter – let go of your expectations, and embrace now.

After all, Phil is rarely right. And Cupid: no one even eats all of the chocolates in those heart-shaped boxes. One thing you can count on is that mystery filling. What is that orange stuff, anyway?



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