Sunday Snippet: "Life Magazine"

“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

To help pass the time on my flight over to Taipei a couple of weeks ago, I indulged in a little in-flight entertainment. One of the movies I watched was The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (a fuller written review is forthcoming). It stars Ben Stiller as a photo processor at Life Magazine and his life, for the most part, is quite mundane… until he decides to grab life by the horns and embark on an epic adventure.

Throughout the film, we are reminded of the (presumably fictitious) motto of Life Magazine, which I’ve quoted above. The gist of the message is something that we’ve heard many times before and we will surely hear many more times again. Life is short. Life is precious. We shouldn’t “fritter away our precious hours” with mindless busywork when we have the chance to go out there and see the world. Even if the circumstances appear dangerous, sometimes we need to take that risk in order to “see behind walls.”

Naturally, the final line of that motto is a little punny in its approach, as it is also trying to remind us that Life, as a magazine, also has the objective of going beyond the mundane and the everyday to reveal the exciting, the unknown and the unseen. Even if we are going “out there” to discover the world, we are also finding new ways to “find each other” and to feel new feelings. We all have our obligations and we all have bills to pay. I understand that, but we also shouldn’t allow those obligations to turn into excuses. Life is far too short for that.

You cannot simply wait for opportunities to present themselves; you have to create them yourself. Do you want to eat real pasta in Italy? Do you yearn to visit the Great Wall of China or the amazing Angkor Wat of Cambodia? Don’t wait for a magical “some day” when the stars align. Just go out there and see the world for yourself.