By now, many of you have probably seen the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and if you haven't, I highly recommend it. The basic storyline revolves around one Walter Mitty, a man who lives a very ordinary life and simultaneously creates a fantastic identity in the realm of his own imagination. Only when events outside of his control force him into a globe-spanning adventure is he able to integrate the two disparate realities and truly live.
I think that many of us can see a wee bit of Walter Mitty in our own lives. Not that we each have some secret phantasmic life, but that much of our time and mental energy is spent on things that aren't real. Like Walter, we experience our day to day as fatiguingly mundane, and we seek respite in mindless TV, FaceBook, eating... and all sorts of activities intended to add color and excitement to our life.
Before I go any further and you decide to quit reading this appallingly preachy blog ever again, I just want to say that I am not condemning TV, FaceBook, or eating, even mindless TV, mindless FaceBooking, or mindless eating. I love a ridiculous sitcom accompanied by a tub (and I mean that word in its fullest sense) of popcorn. I am not a robot.
And I am absolutely not saying that we all have be the world's most interesting man or go on some amazing global adventure when we have four little kids at home (give or take a few). What I am saying is that sometimes we need to re-awaken to the here and now, and all the adventures it could hold.
I've put together a little list for myself, prompts for when I'm stuck in a rut.
See the usual in a new way by seeing it at a new time. Get up early for the sunrise, or enjoy the sounds of the night with a glass of wine.
Read more books. Keep a running list of books that pique your interest or that friends recommend. Goodreads is a great tool for doing just that.
Be quiet. Figuratively, but maybe also literally. Take a short break from FaceBook, Pandora, magazines, maybe even, gasp, blogs! Let all the words and talk clear out of your mind, and be still.
Learn a new language, or practice a second one that is rusty or only halfway known. Knowing a second language is a good in itself, but it is also a vehicle for diving deeper into a culture. The ways and words we use to speak of things reveal a lot about us.
Do something that makes you uncomfortable. Introduce yourself to that other mom you always run into at the park. Submit an article to the newspaper. Invite a friend over even if your house isn't spotless.
Go out of your way to be kind. Authentically compliment someone. Write a get well note. Make a meal for a new mom.
What would you add?