Cheesy column #35

January 23rd, 2014

We all dream. In one way or another, every single person dreams. Some people dream much more than others, during the day as well as during the night. I recently saw “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which, without spoiling the entire movie, is about a man who spends almost his entire existence daydreaming about these grand adventures and then, one day, is forced to actually take his dreams into his own hands in order to save his and his friends’ jobs. For those of you who have not seen it yet, please take your family and your friends and your friends’ friends and go see it as soon as possible. I found myself very moved by the movie, and I believe it has an important lesson that can be applied to everyone’s life in some way.

One of the reasons I was so inspired by the movie was because of how strongly I identified with the character of Walter Mitty. Again, I’m not giving away spoilers, but basically the first 20 minutes of the movie focused on developing the character of Walter Mitty, who was played exceptionally well by Ben Stiller. It took the idea of zoning out to a whole new level, in that Walter becomes so absorbed in his thoughts and daydreams that he mentally leaves his physical surroundings for several minutes at a time and can’t be brought back until his dream is over. This obviously is an extreme case of the daydreams, but I think everyone’s experienced something like this at some point in their lives.

I’ve personally always been a frequent daydreamer. Anyone who knows me knows how spaced out I get when I’m walking to class, sitting around or pretty much anytime I’m not actively engaged with someone else. It’s not an activity that’s entirely encouraged, either in my life or in the movie. However, I see two sides to it. This whole idea of daydreaming leads to what I consider to be the most important underlying theme of the movie as well as the most memorable and inspiring: dreaming can be a wonderful thing as long as it’s used as a stepping stone to something greater.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the act of dreaming instead of the actual pursuit of dreams. For example, in the movie, Walter Mitty imagines all of these exciting, unrealistic ways that he would win the love of his crush, played by Kristen Wiig. However, he dwells on his dreams rather than taking action and making them happen. It’s comforting to mentally play out scenarios the way you want them to happen rather than taking a risk and possibly getting disappointed or hurt, and in this way daydreaming can become one gigantic trap.

Instead of using dreams as an escape, they should instead be used as inspiration. Dreamers are the ones who aren’t afraid to, well, dream big. Your imagination is like a muscle, meaning that the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. In Walter Mitty’s case, his imagination is one of his strongest assets, and during the movie we witness his struggle to harness it into a tool to help him save his job. Eventually, he does, and therein lies the theme and what I consider to be one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from a movie in quite awhile.

You shouldn’t be afraid to dream. Not everything needs to be approached from a 100 percent realistic point of view. Creativity obviously stems from imagination, and if we are afraid to dream, we lose that creativity and in turn a large number of the things that make life worth living. There are ways to be dreamers and still be grounded in a sense. It all boils down to finding the best outlet for your own self-expression and honing it into something that you can use to better your own life as well as the lives of others.

So, in a nutshell, that’s why it’s worth taking a trip to the movies the next chance you get to see “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Of course, I can’t give it due justice just writing about it here, so I want you all to go see for yourselves. Hopefully it will also inspire you fellow dreamers to start turning those dreams into realities.