Guest blog: Christian Correa
One of my favorite movies is “Groundhog Day”. If you haven’t seen it (you sadden me), it’s basically about a guy (Bill Murray, in top form) who has to relive the same day, over and over again. Simple concept, excellently executed, just a brilliant little gem of a movie. The reason I mention this movie is that, although it’s endlessly entertaining to watch Bill Murray mine this absurd situation for comedy gold, coming to terms with the fact that you’ve been living in your own “Groundhog Day” is decidedly less fun.
Have you ever felt stuck in a loop, like you kept doing the same thing over and over? Maybe with one area of life, or the whole general thing? Sure, it would be nice if it was like the movie, (once again, if you haven’t seen it, I’m done speaking with you) and you could be assured of a few good laughs, a lesson, and a Hollywood ending. But this is real life, not Hollywood. Time moves forward, tomorrow comes. Actions have consequences, and as much fun as it seems in the movie, punching “Needle-Nose Ned” and trying to trick Andie MacDowell into fucking you would have to be dealt with the next day. (Don’t know what I’m referring to? Good. You deserve to feel stupid).
Question: What do you call a “rut” that lasts a decade?
Hahaha trick question, ruts don’t last 10 years. After that it’s just called “your life”, and mine, for better or for worse, seemed to have remained essentially the same for the better part of my last 10 years. Sure the players are different, the scenery changes, but the mind games I played with myself every day remained sadly the same. Now, I’m not oblivious to the fact that I’ve done some really cool things, and had great experiences. I’ve spoken at colleges across the country. Traveled around Europe. Hell, I was on fucking Wheel Of Fortune, so I’m not saying it’s all been a disaster. But in the grand scheme of things, if we we’re to average it all out, I tended to find myself with the same thoughts, actions, and habits for as long as I could remember. I still remained mostly (mis)guided by the fears and insecurities that I, for some reason, stockpiled in my brain like a hungry, dumb squirrel when I was in my late teens. Even physically, I seemed to be doing the same things (masturbate, pace around room to avoid writing) at the same times (upon awakening, the remainder of the day) for as long as I can remember.
Was I some sad sack who had given up on life? No, actually I’m quite the opposite. I’m a pretty damn positive, upbeat dude, well aware of the beauty and awesomeness of this world, the potential in all that we are. But for some reason I just felt like I was standing on the riverbank, frozen in place, waiting for the perfect time to jump in and take the ride. But I wouldn’t. If my passion came anywhere close to my procrastination, I would be a fucking stallion of life, a shepherd of all that is awesome. But it didn’t. I floated between ideas and ambitions. One inspired moment I’d break out my Stratocaster and want to start a band, then 2 cups of coffee and 6 cigarettes later I want to teach art to kids. Or write comedy. Or be a Marine Biologist. Or (Fill in the blank. Seriously. Anything. I’ve probably wanted to do it. Yeah, even that, and I’m pretty sure it’s illegal).
God, how I envied the people that went to college with an actual goal, or knew they wanted to make movies “since I was eight years old in the backyard with my dad’s Super 8 blah blah blah…” But the truth is, they’re the exception, not the rule. Most of us have more humble beginnings, more unsure futures. We have to try and figure things out as we go along, weighing multiple possibilities and passions against one another, wondering the whole time if we’re making the right decisions. But after a while, through repetition of this self-doubt, all we’re doing is wondering so much that we stop making actual decisions. Every situation, big or small, can become anxiety inducing, until you spend more time wondering “what cereal to buy” than sitting down and enjoying a delicious bowl of it. You can slowly become paralyzed by indecision, stagnant. Then, before you know it, instead of living life you feel like you’re watching it go by (Go fuck yourself, Facebook!) and fearing you’ve missed or are missing out on all the good bits. But the great thing is, you haven’t! All you have to do is make the decision to jump in and try. It’s technically easy, but with trying comes the thought of failing, and isn’t that a scary thought?
Well, I say FUCK THAT NOISE!! Failing has such a negative connotation in our society, but I call bullshit. The truth is, you should look forward to failing. Why? Because it would mean you made a decision, put in effort, and then tried hard enough to actually fail. Failing is a sign of progress, of change. And change is hard. It’s supposed to be hard, but good hard. The kind of hard that leaves you in a deep, exhausted sleep through the night, instead of tossing and turning over a mountain of “what if’s”. Think “Gym” hard (action, exertion, sweat, discomfort) not “Calculus” hard (Think Think THINK, what’s the formula???) Sure you can visualize things you want, or imagine your ideal life, and that’s a great start. But you can’t think your way to a finished painting. Or visualize actual abs on your meaty midsection. At some point you have to pick up the brush, or do those crunches, and sadly this is where most people don’t make it past: Taking ACTION.
The truth is, no matter who you are, or where you’re at in your life, all the self help, positive thinking, wishing, or planning in the world still leads you directly to now. RIGHT NOW. The present. Here it is. Do something. Anything. Worried you might do the wrong thing? Tough. Fucking. Titties. At some point you have to stop reading about how to do something, or the best way to do something, or how someone else did something, and just do it. Pen to paper. Mouth to microphone. Don’t know what to do? Right now, it doesn’t matter. Scream. Laugh. Spin around in a circle. Just be aware that in this moment, you chose to act instead of remain stagnant, advance instead of retreat. Now, just keep that up! Be conscious of these moments of indecision, and choose to act, however little and insignificant it may seem. Feel free to start small, because after a while, one tiny action at a time, something starts to light up inside you. A tiny spark of recognition, of an earlier time when your decisions were unencumbered by crippling doubt, when you moved effortlessly through life solely on intuition, fearlessness, and fun. When, instead of “why”, you asked “why not?” (Ahhh, remember that shit?!?)
As these moments start to build, so does your confidence, your sense of purpose. You’ll feel it in your bones, your sense of intuition will sharpen. Then at some point you will look down, and there, firmly in your hands, are the reigns of life. The ones you dropped somewhere between your awkward high school years and now, where they became buried under all the bullshit that we call “life”. But here they are, just where you left them, and holding these again feels like your holding Goddamn lightning! Your shoulders go back, chin goes up. Eventually (it’s a lot quicker than you think!) you’ve proven to yourself, through action, that you’re reliable, resilient, and responsible for what happens in your life. Now go out. Go live. Go matter. Because the first person you have to convince that you matter, and your ideas, goals, and ambitions matter, is yourself. After that, it’s easy.
Now, do I, and will you, still have moments of indecision and uncertainty? Absolutely! What I no longer do is turn “what kind of cereal should I buy” into a panic attack inducing, life altering decision, where I question my place in universe. My day is full of those moments, but I’ve decided to make “taking positive action” a top priority. Hell, I’ve been reading and rewriting this fucking thing for hours, full of doubt and fear, unsure of whether it will ever see the light of day.
But here I am, pen to paper. Trying. Living. Failing? Possibly, but I’m ok with that. Tomorrow’s another day, and at least I know it’s gonna be different from the last, a new day full of new possibilities and adventures.
Finally, after years of being stuck in my own cold, wintery Punxsutawney, my “Groundhog Decade” is over…
…But I’d still try and fuck Andie MacDowell.Christian Correa @correacomedy Writer/ Comedian. Moved to LA. Grew a beard. Bought a flannel. I’m almost there.