It happened all at once—the shooting. People were screaming, everyone was running away in different directions. It looked like there would be many casualties. I heard the shooter running in my direction. I grabbed my knife and crouched. Just as he ran past, I stabbed him and grabbed his gun, saving the remaining people in the area. Once the mess settled down, ambulances cleared out the wounded, and police started their investigation, it came out that I was the hero. I saved the day.
Now it could just be me, but how often have you been the hero in your own imagination? That you saved the lives of people, that you rescued someone who was hanging at the edge of a cliff, or a child who was stuck in a burning building, or someone who was in a car crash and you pulled them out. I think we have all imaged being the hero. That’s what makes “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” both the book and the movie, such great works of art because they really capture what most or all humans experience—the desire to be the hero, to live an adventurous life, to be recognized.
There is nothing wrong with it really. Science says day dreaming is good for us. It helps us forget bad things that are happening to us, it boosts creativity, it cheers us up, motivates us. Day dreaming can really shape our lives. If you often fantasize something, you will be more likely to do it. (That also means don’t go around fantasizing some heinous crime.) Living alone, I often find myself day dreaming, even while doing other activities (War and Peace has some really boring parts).
Although some researchers say that people who fantasize certain things are less satisfied with their life, I find it just the opposite. My day dreams give me something to reach for. No, I may never save lives, may never become a hero, and already know I won’t be a doctor, but I might be able to help one person, and be the hero in their life. Or even just know in my heart that I was heroic to them. So when someone tells me “keep dreaming,” I do, because I know one day, my dreams may turn into reality, even if just in one little way shape or form. Like Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”