Last night I watched “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” with Ben Stiller (the remake obviously). I was moved by the story and the absolute breathtaking scenery. Then I had an epiphany. I know why I never seem happy…because there are two different sides to me. If one is happy, the other cannot be happy.
I long for the quiet life I wrote about a few days ago. Stability and structure are key to that lifestyle. Then I see images of Greenland or Alaska and I ache to grab a backpack and just go. I cannot seem to wrap my head around either lifestyle right now. I am absolutely conflicted.
Really quickly, in the movie Walter Mitty is the kind of guy who did the right thing. After his father died, he started working and taking care of things. He had planned to travel but life stopped him in his tracks. In order to cope, he developed quite a unique imaginary life; a life where he was significant. Then a situation arises and he has to step up to the plate. Out of his shell and full-bore into life. I ended up crying happy tears for Walter and sad tears for me. Oh, to have that kind of adventure and purpose in my life. Yes, I know life does not work out like the movies. Alas, there are no scripts, unlimited bank accounts or stunt doubles in real life.
So I am left to figure this all out. Some days I hate to being so self-aware. Why can’t I just plod along asking “Do you want fries with that?” and be happy. Why do I always have to look at the other side of the fence and ask if it is really better? I try to just resign myself but something inside keeps awakening the turmoil inside of me. I give up and then I come back more resolved (yet seemingly unequipped) to make that BIG major change.
In the end of the movie, Walter’s travels and meeting of people change him profoundly. His fear is gone and his ability to actually live life to the fullest is stronger than ever. I ask myself if that is just a Hollywood ending or if that same feeling, albeit not the actual events of the movie, can happen in real life. I am aware enough to know that there is no happily ever after, but what about that part in the middle? The part that is so terrifying and so exciting at the same time, the part that transcends you to another level of awareness and the part that feeds your soul in a way nothing else can. How do I get that?
I thought the Epic Journey would do that for me. I expected to come back from that trip completely changed and when it did not happen I was really depressed and lost all over again. But how can just jumping in a car and running away from everything make that kind of difference? It is just not possible. I expected the things to change me when it was me who needed to change from the inside. I took that journey with all the fears and insecurities I have carried my entire life. Basically, instead of jumping off the cliff I jumped over a water puddle and expected the end results to be the same.
Where do I go from here? I still do not know. I highly doubt that I will be backpacking in Chile anytime soon or climbing any mountains. So what do I do? The sensible thing-settle down and forget all this nonsense. I should just “get over” myself and go back to normal. Part of me is okay with that, but part of me is screaming inside “NO!!”.
I have “officially” been on this journey for about a year and I feel no closer to an answer then I did in the beginning. I thought by now the universe would have made itself clear to me and I would be merrily on my new path to whatever-I-am-looking for, but that does not seem to be the case.
I feel a bit like early-in-the-movie Walter Mitty. I have my pen and travel journal ready, I just do not know what to do with it. How pathetic am I? For today, I guess, I will live my life as best I can and look for the adventure in every day life. Maybe I will write a story about a woman who is adventurous, brave and everything I seem not to be. I could live through her until I figure this out.
No answers. I hate that. I sometimes come to conclusions as I am writing but not this time. I guess the question is just too big for an easy answer. I will keep pondering it all and look for that proverbial open window or door. For now the two sides of me will have to play nice until such a time as I have a plan. Looks like the Epic Journey is no where near complete and that the ride has barely even started.
Here is to self-awareness: you make me miserable, but you also make me grow. I wish it was easier, but that is not how this whole life thing works.