Ruminate & Reflect: #Relatable Walter Mitty
There's something I wanna share with you: a film. I watched it before I returned back home. You see, I made the mistake of not downloading Philippine Airlines' myPAL player when I departed... Boo! So I corrected that before leaving, and I had it in my phone. Finally, in-flight entertainment! Now the real question was, what do I watch? There were a lot to choose from, but I chose The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Why that? IDK, TBH. Last time I heard of it were good words from people who've seen it. All I knew about it was that Ben Stiller played your average guy with a secret fantastic life. I was pretty close to what it really was.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Explained
The creative Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) develops film negatives for a living at LIFE Magazine. As LIFE transitions to digital, the mysterious photographer Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn) gives him the negatives to be used for the last issue's cover feature. However, the roll containing the cover is missing. With the help of his co-worker / crush Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig), Mitty looks for the negative and embarks on a journey beyond his office.
The film is an adaptation of James Thurber's short story. It's up on The New Yorker website archive if you wanna check it out. It's mostly just Mitty daydreaming about situations far-off from his real life. The 1947 film version has Mitty wandering in his mind only to get caught in a conspiracy. Whatever version it is, Walter Mitty is the basic man living vicariously through fantasies.
But among the Mitties, Ben Stiller's version is the one we all relate to. At some point, we were all that Mitty.
Lesson: We're All Walter Mitty
In the movie, he's a 9-to-5 average Joe living in his comfort zone. He deals with IRL–his mom's moving problems, his new boss being a dick, and his inability to tell Cheryl how he feels. He's one awkward bean who projects a Gary Stu version of himself in his mind. But as he grows some guts and balls along the way, he ends up better than his imagined self. Spoiler alert: he physically gets out of his comfort zone. Watch the film and you'll see why. (Nothing R-rated, I swear to you dirty minded people.)
Now you're lying if you tell me you haven't done that. Do you ever scroll through social media feeds and end up with feelings? By feelings, I meant both wonder and envy. We observe others as they enjoy whatever we see on their profiles. But at the same time, we also wonder if we could go through the same bliss they do. If you see a photo of a classmate enjoying dinner with her clique, you'd think about your own squad's dinner and imagine what could've pushed through. (Hey auntshies pls don't kill me.)
Then let's also take it offline. When you're in a public space, you wonder how people end up as they are. For instance, if you're single, you see happy couples here and there. Then you wander off to a scene where you and your partner walk while holding hands. (Don't lie, you've thought of that.)
Most of the time, we think of "what could've been" because we're too afraid to leave our safe space. If we do, rejection and errors await us outside. So we just rely on our imagination.
Walter Mitty is a film where I ended up taking away something after the ending. I should've watched this film when I departed instead, but either way, I still appreciated it. I reflected a lot after watching the film. Even until now, TBH.
I live in my comfort zone. There are a lot of factors why: money, time, and priorities. I'm more of an observer both offline and online. I feel happy reading others' adventures. But at the same time, I wanted that thrill too. Sadly I only get that feel second-hand. This has gone on for so long... Imagine 22 years of my sheltered ass looking at life through photos and videos.
It's not that I haven't done anything special in my life. When I do so, I treasure it. However, like Mitty, there are times where my mind wants me to do something, but it only ends in my mind. This year, I want less of that. I wanted to live, FFS. To finally do (at least most of) the goals I list in my planner. And most importantly, to bring home experiences material things cannot duplicate.
Let's all take cues from Walter Mitty. Don't just survive, but live as well. We only have one life, dammit.
Disclaimer: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty belongs to 20th Century Fox. The GIFs used were found in GIPHY. The images used in the thumbnail are for display purposes only.