Recently I’ve been playing a game called The Outer Wilds, an indie gem that won every award going last year. It features a Groundhog Day mechanic, so whenever you die you wake up right where you started in the beginning, except you now have whatever knowledge you gained in your previous life. The sun also explodes about 22 minutes after that moment, so another loop is just round the corner.
It’s a pretty fun mechanic, but it also reminds me a lot of all the work I’ve been doing with my therapist about patterns. I’m getting a lot better at identifying mine, but I’m still struggling to break free of them, which means I find myself feeling a little like I’m experiencing the same day over and over again as well. I feel like I’m trying really hard to break these cycles, but it’s not worked yet, so I’m still in the same place I always have been. Now I’m more aware of it… it’s really frustrating. Feeling like all the effort I’ve invested hasn’t had the pay off I wanted is upsetting, and I always reach for the idea of putting in more effort to fix it, which makes me feel like I’m out of touch with reality (which is also very upsetting). I think breaking the patterns either involves some amount of vulnerability or some amount of short-term less for long-term emotional gain, neither of which I feel thrilled about, for obvious reasons.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen the film (it’s actually older than I am), so I can’t remember how it ends. Maybe I’ll watch it again and find out.