I remember watching Danny Kaye in the original “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” movie back when I was a kid. It had been out 30 years already, but it was a great movie. It was funny and in a way and described the life of many of my friends while growing up. We all like to day dream about being a sports super hero or someone famous but some of the people we know take it to extremes. Do you day dream? Do you pretend to save the world while watching an action movie? I think we all do a little of that from time to time. We just don’t admit to it. Here’s a little history on the Walter Mitty we have seen in movies.
Walter Mitty is a fictional character in James Thurber’s story “The secret life of Walter Mitty.” Mitty is a meek mild man with all kinds of vivid fantasies that carry him through life. Let’s face it, I think we all can identify with this fictional character in one way or another. For most of us when we were children we fantasized about being an astronaut, cowboy, fireman, dancer, actresses, professional ball players.
Heck, I can remember in junior high pretending to be Audie Murphy saving the lives of my company fighting the Germans. I saw a movie about him and how he earned the Medal of Honor for his heroics in world war two. I played army in our back yard. The layout was perfect, downed trees, high grass, plenty of room to run and hide. I would race from tree to tree dodging the make believe bullets coming my way. Even as adults we are kids in our thinking at times.
I have sat in my office and heard the horrible stories of people struggling with all kinds of cancers. We all have people we know and love pass from this disease. My parents, sister and many friends have died from cancer. There has been times at the end of my day when I sit back in my office chair and day dream about seeing people cured of cancer. What if I could be the one who found that cure? How many lives would be changed for the better? It’s a humble thought, is it realistic of course not. I’m not a bio chemist, scientist, nor do I have the patience to work long hours in a lab. We all have seen the advances in cancer research. It’s amazing what has been accomplished. I wonder how many Walter Mitty’s as children, dreamed about being a scientist and have helped discover some of the cures for cancer we see today!
There are adult Walter Mitty’s we know of who have become dreamers and inventers. You have Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Madam Curie, all dreamers who didn’t stop at dreaming as adults but put into action and made their dreams come true. There are those men and women who really believe they can make a difference in others lives. Can you admit that you have had these aspirations in making the world a better place while dreaming about them?
On the more serious side there are those who really live in a dream world and live a fantasy life filled with disappointment and sadness . We see them believing in some of the unrealistic feats they have shared with us. These events may be humorous to us but there is a darker side to this way of thinking. In the movies you have seen Walter Mitty never triumphs, several of his fantasies are always being interrupted before he sees a favorable outcome. Do we have people who live in this kind of world? Yes we do. These folks do have brief checks of reality and then slide back into their world of make believe events. The people are deemed or referred to as ineffectual dreamers.
Which one are you? Do you have Walter Mitty dreams as an adult that are a temporary release for you? Or do you have Walter Mitty dreams and never accomplish goals and tasks because you keep living in the pretend world that you create? I see nothing wrong with day dreaming, we all do it. I think we all can relate to dreaming about winning the lotto. How would that feel? Paying off all your bills, your mortgage, your car. I think when we hear about powerball hitting 500 million dollars it brings some excitement to most of those who buy powerball tickets.
In closing, I had a friend of mine who really believed that he would marry his favorite actress. He wrote her, sent flowers, had her pictures all over his office walls. He spoke of her as if he was actually dating her. He was smitten with her in a big way. Most of his friends thought he was off the deep end. They started avoiding him after the business lunches were all about her. He was so consumed that he lost his job, his home and most of his friends. He got help and years of counseling for his obsession. Today he is a regular guy who is married and has a family. He just didn’t realize how bad he had the Walter Mitty syndrome.
Do you have trouble in reaching your goals? Do you day dream about your future and need help in making realistic goals. Does your future scare you? If you answered yes to any of these problems contact Dr. Mike at 303.456.0555 he can help you.