Happy Groundhog Day!
Do you remember the movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray? In that movie, the lead character becomes ensnared in a time loop as the same day repeats over and over again.
In celebration of today’s holiday, I would like to share my own episode of “Groundhog Day.” My time loop is not about a repeating day, but about a repeating experience. I like to call my episode the “Sixth Grade Lunch Table.” Guys, I’m not sure what happened at your sixth grade lunch table but ladies, I’m pretty sure we share similar experiences.
Shut your eyes. Think about sixth grade. How high was your level of self-confidence? Who did you sit with at lunch? Who did you pray would not sit at your table each day?
Let me guess. First, you remembered how unconfident you felt. It was hard being a 12 year-old. It was a time of great physical and emotional changes. None of us had figured out who we wanted to be, but we were constantly worried about what our peers thought we should be. It was a harsh measuring stick and none of us could measure up to those expectations.
Next, you thought about who you sat with at sixth grade lunch. Likely, you remember a group of friends that made you feel safe and comfortable. And, there was always that table where you wished you could sit, the one with the kids who seemed to be one notch cooler than your table.
Finally, you thought about who you avoided in the lunch room. I know the answer to that: the mean girls! (If you didn’t answer mean girls, I’m sad to inform you that you probably were a mean girl.) Admit it; you can picture their faces and you probably remember their names. They always sat together and glared at other tables. There was even a movie made about them called “Mean Girls” in which one character famously said, “I’m sorry that people are so jealous of me… but I can’t help it that I’m so popular.”
Now flashback to the present; I bet your story has a happy ending. You are very confident in who you are. Your measuring stick is your own, not one prescribed by your peers. You are still surrounded by a group of safe, comfortable friends. As for the mean girls, they are long gone. They definitely aren’t part of your life anymore and likely you can’t even remember what happened to them. I realize now that most of them had reached the pinnacle of their life at age 12.
As for my personal episode of “Groundhog Day,” there are occasionally times when I find myself in situations when bullies try to use intimidation tactics. Immediately, I remind myself that this is “Sixth Grade Lunch Table” all over again. I notice the bullies are still using the same tactics. They are pack animals; they never attack alone. They try to dictate desired behaviors for others. They love to use gossip and innuendo as their sword.
At that point, I say out loud, “This is sixth grade all over again. I didn’t like it the first time and I’m not going to relive it now.” And then I confidently walk away from the bullies, back to my circle of safe and comfortable friends. I’m very secure in who I am and what choices I make without their influence. True confession: every once in a while I peek over my shoulder because I know they will eventually crash and burn just like they did after sixth grade.