Life is about courage and going into the unknown.
A friend recently sent me a trailer from the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, because the main character reminded them of me. I decided that it looked intriguing enough to watch, so I sat down one weekend to see what this was all about. The further I got into the story the more enveloped I became with the main character, Walter Mitty, an aging man who manages the negative images of Life magazine. At first glance, he’s kind of a boring person. The parameters of his life consist of going from his apartment to work and from work to his apartment. He’s incredibly tedious and cautious, yet frequently finds himself daydreaming about leading a dangerous and adventurous lifestyle. Sound familiar to anyone? It sounded very familiar to me.
When his job is threatened, he’s faced with a situation where he needs to find photographer Sean O’Connell so he can retrieve the negative that is supposed to be used in Lifetime magazine’s final print issue before they permanently switched over to digital publishing. The only issue is that in order to find Mr. O’Connell, he’ll have to travel abroad into rough and sometimes unknown territory. He could stay and inevitably be fired for a mistake he wasn’t responsible for. He knew what he had to do, the rest was just finding the courage to do it.
This is my favorite moment of the entire movie. It’s that moment when he decides to get up and go. Everything up until this excerpt showed you that he lead a very cautious lifestyle for the sake of others. In the film, he explains that when he was 17 his father died on a Tuesday and got a full time job at Papa Johns on a Thursday in order to support his mom and sister. He traded in his wild skateboarding look and lifestyle to help his family. He had always wanted to travel and be adventurous, but had lead a life in supporting others for so long that he kind of forgot how to live for himself. Long after his family had recovered and were able to support themselves, Walter was very cautious about his choices. He needed to ensure that he would always have a steady job in case something happened. This especially hit home for me. I think that all of us, at some point, have dreamed about doing something or going somewhere, but something happens and changes us in some way. I was given an opportunity, much like Water was, that would make or break my future career. I wanted to live/work abroad in some fashion (at that time the choice was in archaeology), but I had no idea how to do it and I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I took a chance, I applied for an archaeology program abroad and, by some chance, out of hundreds of applicants, I was accepted. I was working at a grocery store at that time. I approached my boss and told him my plans, but with the hopes that he would give me my old job back once I returned. Luckily, he understood my needs and said I’d be welcomed back once I returned. I bought my plane tickets and headed for the airport. There were moments, especially in the Madrid airport, where everything was in Spanish, I didn’t know the language, I had no idea where I was going, but I knew what I needed to do. Everything from that moment fell into place and I had the most amazing adventure I had ever had in my life. Not only did I learn that I could handle working and travelling abroad, I learned that I loved it and it was something that I wanted to continue doing.