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The Secret Life of (Lauren Berry) Walter Mitty

“Wait, don’t eat your food yet I want to take a picture of it!” – me

Did I really just start off an article by quoting something I say every Sunday brunch?  Unfortunately yes.  If I’m not taking a picture of my food I’m taking a picture of my coffee.  I’m obsessed with social media.  Actually I’m so obsessed with it that I’ve become to resent it.  I take pictures of everything.  “Just painted my toes!” Picture. “Reading a book!” Picture.  “Writing today on my MacBook!” Picture.  Does anyone really, and I mean honestly care what I’m doing every second of the day?  Not really.  Whatever happened to living in the moment?

I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me that capturing the moment was our generation’s way of living in it.  I agree, but I do not like it.  We are so consumed with capturing everything that we often forget to enjoy the actual moment.  That’s when I came up with a plan.

This week (April 20- April 27) I’m not going to take a single picture.  Why you ask?  Here’s why.

There’s this quote that Sean Penn gives in the movie, “Walter Mitty” where he’s standing on top of a mountain in the Himalayas, and he sees a snow leopard he’s been trying to find for months.  Penn has his camera out and he’s ready to take a picture of the leopard. Penn then pauses. Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) asks if he’s ever going to take the picture.  Sean Penn states, “Sometimes I don’t.  If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera.  I just want to stay in it.”

(photo courtsey of waltermitty.com)

That little line has sparked so much thought in me over the past year.  Why do I have to try to capture everything?  I want to be fully present in the moment and remember it without a picture.  That’s where my experiment comes in. 

I can already tell it is going to be hard.  So, here are a few of the rules I have set out for myself.




1.     I will not take any pictures or selfies, even if they are only for me to see.

2.     I am allowed to be in other peoples pictures, but I cannot take them myself.

3.     Only doing rule #2 because saying no to taking a picture with someone would be awkward.

4.     Documenting everyday to show how my progress is going.

5.     Doing a follow up blog on my process.

I’m already annoyed at myself for doing this because my dad just gave me a “Saturday Night Live” vinyl that I can’t Instagram.  Okay, Sean Penn, I’m ready.

Lauren Berry is a journalism major at The University of Memphis from Dallas, Texas. She's spent the past three years covering news stories from campus events to attending the Michelle Obama press conference at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Wanting a change, she joined the Her Campus team to empower women and get her voice heard. She believes that finally, she's in the right place.
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