At the risk of sounding as if I do nothing but watch tv or movies, I’m going to admit that I saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty for the second time today. I saw it first over my holiday break, but I went to the theatre again today with my kids and a friend, none of whom had seen it yet. It was fun for me to watch how they had the same reactions to scenes that I did the first time around. Same moments of laughter and “awwws.” And because I already knew how it ended, I caught more clues and double-meanings in the story along the way.
When you enjoy a movie or a book or a play and are excited to share it with others, there’s always a risk that they won’t appreciate it the same as you. After all, our likes and dislikes reveal little bit about us, so it’s validating when others agree. I was eager to share this movie with my children most of all because the entire movie is about risk-taking and growing as a person. It’s a pretty obvious lesson wrapped inside an endearing movie with spectacular scenery. But there is one line in this movie that really struck me. At one point, a character describes Walter Mitty as “a small piece of gray paper.” My reaction today was the same as the first time I heard it. Wow.
I wonder how often that’s been my projection of myself. I know there have been times, out of fear or laziness, I’ve kept myself small and colorless. I hope it hasn’t been too often. I don’t want that to be my legacy. I think a lot of us live out more in our imaginary lives than we do in reality. It’s easier to live vicariously through the characters onscreen or in books. And while there’s nothing wrong that for entertainment, I don’t want it for my life. I’m thankful for the reminder that sometimes, you just have to put yourself out there in order to truly live a colorful life beyond your own scrap of paper.