The Secret Life of…
Do you have an imagination? Yes, of course you do. Everyone has one, or at least I hope they do. Our imagination is what drives us. It gives us purpose. It makes us individuals, unique. Our imagination gives us life – the breath to keep us going when life beats us down. It supports our crazy ideas that we can change, be better or believing the thing we love to do the most can be our job. Whatever is the ultimate dream, we place our faith in our imagination to make it come true.
However, there is a flip side to having a vivid imagination. For some, daydreaming and fantasizing about an alternative to your current life can be a brief respite, but it can also keep those permanently stalled in a life not suited for them. So, are they using it wrong? Perhaps. Or the comfort of the fantasy holds back the cruel hardship of reality.
Life is hard, we all know that, but as you age, cynicism or fear have a way of getting its grips on you. It forces us to avoid trying because that could lead to failure and having to contemplate starting all again that we are scared into submission. So, creating scenarios in the mind where we attempt to change, take a grand adventure, or let go of people that no longer belong in our lives, can be just that: A trick, a momentary illusion of how things could be different but never the true reality. This is a secret life – the one we don’t want share with anyone for whatever reason, but usually out of fear.
Unless you are taking a few of those fantastical ideas and implementing them within your real life, it can be a waste of a perfectly good imagination – especially if you are unhappy with the status quo.
There is nothing wrong with thinking about how life should or could be different. It’s healthy, actually. However, keeping yourself in a rut by just dreaming about the alternative is not a job complete. How we move ourselves closer to the dreams, using ones imagination is the ideal.
How do you use your imagination: To keep you stagnant or is it moving you forward?
We all use different resources to fuel our imaginations. Some use art, music, books or my drug of choice: movies. And I viewed the remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty recently, and had a mirror put up to my face.
The film is about a man who uses his imagination to do what we many of us do – avoid reality. Walter is stuck in a life where he doesn’t do anything, no adventures, and no risks. He doesn’t even stand up for himself especially to those who are purposefully cruel to him. His daydreams are elaborate and way beyond what he should actually do in his real life. It’s halted his existence. But he’s spent so much time “zoning out” that his fantasies have nearly ruined his life. Or in other words it kept him from truly living life.
Now this is not a movie review, nor do I want to go into detail how Walter Mitty, played spectacularly by Ben Stiller, ends up finally changing his reality. I only bring up this film because I just viewed the movie, and it made a rather impactful impression on me.
To be honest, I am personally in the stuck, stalled or not moving forward in my life mode. For whatever reason or how I got there, good or bad, I am stuck and living far too much in the world of movies and the fantasy of how my life could be better. However, after watching the entire tale about Walter Mitty and how he gave up his daydreaming and actually started to live life jump-started something in me.
I’ve always had an over-active imagination, and I have often used films to give me the answers to life’s conundrums, and today I am no different, except for one important point: I am done waiting for life to come to me. I am going to make it happen in the real world. I may stumble along the way. I may over think the some of the outcomes; I cannot change fundamentally. But today I am no longer living my secret life anymore!
Movies will always be there for me. However, I will not allow my fear of the unknown to keep me from grasping at what I want, what I deserve and what makes me happy in the real life.
Now, I do recommend you watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and take notice at what Sean Penn’s character says while photographing on the mountain. These are wise-words, especially today. Trust me.
Stop living your secret life and start living your life.