Fantasy vs. Reality: The Walter Mitty Complex



You are hiding in the upstairs loo – facing a small dilemma. Both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Man Booker Prize are on tomorrow night. You have won them both. Giorgio Armani and Stella McCarthy are downstairs fighting it out, both wanting you to wear their frock. Your cell-phone keeps ringing, you know it’s either Oprah or Bono – they are so persistent. You let it go to voicemail. Suddenly you remember that you forgot to respond to Kate’s invite. The Duchess of Cambridge wants you to be guest of honour at Kensington Palace next week for the ‘Inspiring Women of the Universe’ event. You know that a few minutes to yourself and the answers will come. Following three slow, conscious breaths, you burst out the door and run downstairs.

“Stella, let Armani out of that headlock, like a dear and I’ll tell you what we’ll do. I’ll get Angelina to collect the Nobel Prize for me so, Giorgio darling, you scoot around to her gaff and sort her out with a sparkly number. Better get a penguin suit for Brad. Stick him in a pair of bell-bottoms for the craic. Stella, you be back here tomorrow evening with a dress-suit for me. I want to look smart, sexy and a little eccentric – where Isabel Allende meets J.K. Rowling with a sprinkling of Bill Bryson. Now, chop-chop! ” They nod gratefully and scamper away. The telephone rings, you answer it, “Bono, my old bud, how’re ya?…Yes, I will call around….yes, I know you called by last time but honestly, I’ve been busy. You’re not the only one saving the world you know… Obama and the Dalai Lama are dying to meet me, well okay so… but really you’ll have to stop ringing me like this…you’re a right pain in the coccyx…hey and how did Elijah get on in the school games?…3 gold and 2 bronze. That’s fantastic. Talk soon and tell Ali those flapjacks were amazing…”

Scribbling on a post-it, you grab your helmet and make for the door. You had forgotten that you are flying with William in this afternoon’s search and rescue training exercise so he can pass your note to Kate. Simple. Job done.

Then the car behind you hoots furiously as you snap out of your daydream and move a couple of meters forward in the morning rush-hour traffic.


Back in reality, our life may seem as exciting as a sea-floor sucking sea-cucumber’s. In fact, we may even envy our gonady friend and the simplicity of his life. He dreams of breaking down organic matter and, to be fair, does a great job of it. He can look in the mirror and say “By Jove, I’m feeling magnificent today. I’m doing what I came here to do. Life has purpose, life has meaning! What a lucky, fulfilled, handsome little sea-cucumber I am!” We, on the other-hand, are rarely content with the stuff of daily life. Good times come to an end all too soon. The search for the next high begins again immediately because somehow we are restless in this ‘dull’ here and now.  We must escape this dreadful existence where nothing of pleasure is happening and pin all our hopes on some future excitement and exhilaration. Yet, as so many new age ‘teachers’ have told us, the secret to a happy life is to be content with whatever shows up in the moment. 

Keep the Dream, Stay in the Now

The good news is that we do not have to stop fantasizing about better things to come. We do not have to feel deflated in accepting that the way it is, is the way it is and not strive for more. To hold a vision of a different life, feel enthusiasm and desire, move towards it and attain it is what life is all about. By letting go and not struggling against what appears in the moment we can give our energy to that which we want. The little acorn holds all the mechanisms and potential to create a giant, multi-trillion-celled oak tree. Given the right environment, the dormant heroes, leaders and champions within us can stretch out and grow into their own individual magnificence too – equally inspiring, protecting and affecting the world around them.

Yogasync me! Having trouble staying in the moment and appreciating the life you are living? Experience this extended meditation to help you find your inner happy.

Meditation For Happiness

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About Rose Servitova

Rose Servitova is an Irish writer - mother of two, wife of one. She has been practicing yoga for 8 years and writing since she started school. Trained as a Life-Coach and Reiki practitioner, she has also attended workshops on Meditation, Creative Non-fiction, Storytelling, Feldenkrais and Gestalt principles. One of Rose’s favourite pastimes is travelling. She has travelled extensively throughout the world and would travel inside a bag of coal if she thought it would give her a new perspective on life. She likes when humor and personal growth meet, generally looking for the ridiculous in life – having been influenced by her father’s mantra “Sure, if we don’t laugh, we’d cry.” Her aim in life is to become extremely profound. Rose can be contacted at - [email protected]

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