A Mantra for Loving Life via Walter Mitty

*warning: some spoilers, but the ending is protected.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was phenomenal. The cinematography, bedazzling. Music choices, indie and inspiring. The message? Perfect for going into a new year.

Ben Stiller plays a bland office worker responsible for managing the photographic negatives at LIFE Magazine, which is transitioning online and is about to publish its final issue. Kristen Wiig’s character Cheryl is Walter’s muse to uncover the quintessence of a famed photographer’s work, which has mysteriously gone missing, on a whirlwind adventure.

Whenever critics call a movie “boring” I feel there is often a hidden gem wedged beneath the fantastical special effects and larger-than-life fight scenes, which riddle today’s silver screens just to make a movie “memorable”.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was filled with gems… ones that don’t catch your eye right away, but are unforgettable once you uncover them.

One of these gems is uncovered atop the Himalayan mountains. Sean Penn’s character – previously stated renowned photographer – rivets audience-goers in uncomfortable silence with pensive blue eyes as he stares off into the distance at an elusive mountain cat. Walter asks what I dare say we all were thinking, “when are you going to take the picture?”, impatience fleeting as perfect moments of the snow leopard staring into the lens flicker by. Sean Penn’s character then says something unexpected from a photographer of his caliber: “sometimes I don’t take the picture. Sometimes I just… Like to take in the moment.”

And this is what, I felt, was the message of the movie. A significant life is not necessarily one screaming “YOLO!” and flying around the world looking for adventure (though if you have the chance, DO it). The true lesson here is that no matter where we are, what we do or what we desire, relish it in THAT moment. Time is passing by. If you spend your whole life daydreaming about what you could be doing instead of a) actually doing it, or b) accepting and appreciating everything around you, you’re missing out.

And though I thought the movie dragged on a bit (and rightfully so; certain storylines needed a conclusion), I was happy with the ending. I sat through the credits thinking what Ben Stiller could have meant, ending it in this way, and all I can say is this…

No matter what journey you’re on – through the Himalayas, or working hard to support a budding family and kicking back on the couch to watch true thrill-seekers climb mountains – YOU are significant.

Life is what you make it. Make 2014 a year to remember.

Cheers to a new year.

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