Thursday, June 12, 2014

Walter Mitty, The Word's Most Interesting Man, and Other Things

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?


  1. Love the idea of making a list of things to do when stuck in a rut!

  2. I haven't seen the movie yet but want to and now I do even more. Great list.

  3. reaching out to others like that - inviting them over for dinner, making a meal for a new mom or a sick family, trying out a new Moms Group or Biblestudy, etc etc - that is always the magic trick for me! Just as it is exciting and mind-opening to travel to new places, it is just as enlightening to make new friends, meet new people. No two people are ever just exactly alike! it breathes all kinds of freshness and rejuvenation into my own life and perspective of the world, when I make new friends!
    Of course, I am a total extrovert - I get recharged not drained by being around people and having parties, etc! I don't know how the above things affect an introvert! :)

  4. Mary, I have been on the fence about this movie, but I will see it if you recommend it ; )


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