This week I watched “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and, like many imaginative people, I saw a lot of myself in Walter. But this got me wondering; does everyone have a bit of Walter Mitty in them?
I think we all entertain fantasies in our day to day life, often negative ones if what people admit to is true (what you wanted to do to that person who cut you off, you know you had a moment there). How important is this un-reality to our mental wellbeing? And if it is fundamental our health, what role does the fantastical world of TV, movies and books play?
I am sure that imagining what we should have said to that rude person probably does salve our egos, and often our enjoyment of the fictional story of a film or book does leave us feeling like we have lived through those experiences and come out on the other side a better person (assuming your fiction of choice has something of a happy ending). I would even go so far as to say that fantasy is a kind of visualisation, and this has been proven to have huge benefits to the mind when employed in the right way.
My ‘visualisations’ range from how my work day would be impacted by the arrival of aliens on earth through to the more ‘normal’ imaginings of how I’ll react when the Boystown Lottery people call to tell me that I’ve won the prize home (I think I’ve got this one mastered now, so any time they want to do this I promise I’ll react correctly). I don’t know if either of these visualisations are beneficial to my mental health, but I do know that my secret life is definitely very entertaining, and I guess that’s enough for me.