Coping, Empowerment

Ben Miles

As our upper hand on the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be slowly untying the confining binds on our daily lives, from schools reopening to restaurant sit-down service restarting to theatergoing returning, we are wisely advised to take it slowly. Please, no more herky-jerky openings and closings and openings and closings ... again. With vaccines becoming widely available and herd immunity on the near horizon we can begin to stop living our own 21st century version of the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day.”

Speaking of “Groundhog Day,” it’s a film I didn’t think would be of interest to me – stuck in the belief that it would be a boring series of predictable replays – that is, until I read a full-throated endorsement of this decades old Bill Murray feature in a fast-read philosophy book by Eric Weiner, titled “The Socrates Express.” In it, Weiner writes “I haven’t merely watched the movie, I’ve communed with it, imbibed its ethos...’Groundhog Day’ is ... the most philosophical movie ever made.”

These words were enough to motivate me to watch (the late) Harold Ramis directed movie, which now has become a societal meme. And sure enough “Groundhog Day,” the movie, is a fitting metaphor of how many of us have spent the past year.

The few things that allowed me to keep track of what day of the week are Beachcomber deadlines and the courses in critical thinking that I teach at West Coast University. Other than these calendar markers, a pale of undifferentiated sameness would cloud the day and the week as well as my disposition.

While I do look forward to returning to some version of normalcy, I also want to acknowledge my gratefulness for realizing my ability to adjust, evolve and create meaning, purpose and acceptance in my life.

I do mourn the loss of small pleasures – such as the permanent closing of the Souplantation restaurants – but I celebrate becoming empowered by discovering my ability to cope with the stress of a once-in-a-century pandemic. More reading; more home theater pleasures; and increased mindfulness in the moment we call Now have made me a more peaceful spirit and a more thoughtful person.

The Beachcomber invites it readers to share their experiences while enduring the ramifications of this year of the pandemic isolation. Email us at:


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