First off, SPRING BREAK IS HERE!!!!!!!
And boy, do I need a break. Burnout is all too common among people these days, and for me, a college senior, fighting exhaustion and senioritis is a real struggle most days.
Anyways, what if you could find breaks without emptying your wallet and stressing about finding the perfect thing that will effectively take away your stress? In all reality, planning a time to rest adds to your daily stress.
I’m finding that taking a break from the mundane reality of school and work can be as simple as deciding to go star-gazing at midnight on a lonely country road with your best friends. It’s as easy as stopping by the gas station, picking up some insanely caffeinated drink, and going downtown to dance in the fountain with salsa music blasting.
These moments are what you remember. These are the moments that no camera can capture.
These are Walter Mitty Moments.
In the movie, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Walter, a negative assets manager, daydreams about being a hero, getting the girl, and having adventures. When LIFE magazine begins downsizing and Mitty loses his job, he goes on a real-life adventure to seek out the man who had given him one last photograph to develop for the cover of the very last LIFE magazine issue. During his travels he becomes the man he once dreamed of being; he sees incredible sights and makes new friends along with making a few mistakes.
He learns how to live life.
Traditionally, a Walter Mitty is an “ordinary, often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs” according to the American Heritage Dictionary. The original Walter Mitty was an ineffectual dreamer in a book by James Thurber. He is an inept protagonist and being a “Walter Mitty” became a bad thing, filing meek and mild dreamers with no experiences of their own into a category of distaste.
Now, I didn’t know this when I saw the movie, so I have a different definition. Being a Walter Mitty is taking risks and being brave. Its deciding to quit wasting time wishing for life to happen to you and fantasizing about the brave and inspirational person you will be. Its seeking out moments to immortalize.
It’s being spontaneous and finding adventure in the simple joys of life. It’s not taking a picture every time you see a selfie opportunity. How can you fully immerse yourself in the pleasure of a moment when you are busy finding the right angle and lighting and posturing to make yourself look good in a picture?
Sean O’Connell, the photographer Mitty goes to find, says the most profound thing when Walter asks him why he didn’t take the picture of the rare snow leopard. He said, Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.”
Just stay in the moment. Stay. Dwell. Take it in.
The most meaningful times, the beautiful things, they won’t ask for your recognition. Instead they will pass by you like the snow leopard, the ghost cat. The one that is rarely photographed.
So do yourself a favor when you get stressed. Don’t go crazy. Go with your friends, both new and old and find a moment- then stay in it. Leave the phone in the car and the camera as well. Commit the moment to memory. Keep it pure.
O’Connell had the motto of LIFE magazine inscribed on a wallet that he gave Mitty, “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”
Feel. Find Walter Mitty moments. And when you do, take it in and always remember the joy that comes in living life.
The road goes ever on,