[This sort of contains spoilers about Mission: Impossible – Fallout, just so you are aware.]
In one of Mission: Impossible – Fallout’s opening scenes, Simon Pegg’s neurotic computer-man character expresses amazement at Tom Cruise’s steady zen-like state, despite his constant near-death surroundings. (It’s mostly a setup for when, a few minutes later, he loses both his cool and a briefcase full of plutonium, but this is not relevant to my point.) And it’s true — as one of his main things, Tom Cruise, as Ethan Hunt, remains relaxed under stressful circumstances. His other main things, as you may know, are running, jumping, and missions.
The relaxation is notable particularly because Tom Cruise is almost always in situations where he — the real Tom Cruise — may die. Why does Tom Cruise do this? I’m scared for him for numerous reasons, but I’m also grateful that reaching OT VII on the Bridge to Total Freedom in a religion known for heinous human-rights violations somehow allows you to silence the area of your mind that would otherwise stop you from jumping out of a plane 106 times to get the shot just right.
Anyway, what? Oh, yes. I do not expect anyone to feel Tom Cruise’s level of calm in even the mildest of stressful situations; it is unnatural and worrisome. But as I watched Mission: Impossible – Fallout, a movie that I loved, I realized that even in my most anxious moments I am never attempting to disarm two nuclear bombs while piloting a helicopter through mountains as a man tries to murder me. Yes? I think this could be mildly useful to remember.
On the way to the movie I dealt with numerous subway issues that led to an anxiety that rose the closer it got to the movie’s start time. This anxiety — jaw-clenching, muscle-tightening — did not, as anxiety usually does not, match the threat of the situation taking pace. Watching Tom Cruise jump from a plane at 25,000 feet while having to fix stupid Henry Cavill’s whatever so they could both land alive on the Grand Palais made me wish I’d seen the movie before my anxiety-riddled trip to the movie, so I could have said to myself, “At least I’m not in one of the scenarios from Mission: Impossible – Fallout.”
It is, I think, a useful mantra for bouts of mild anxiety. “At least I’m not in one of the scenarios from Mission: Impossible – Fallout.” The next time you are on a tight deadline at work and you know you’re going to miss it and your boss is already mad at you. “At least I’m not in one of the scenarios from Mission: Impossible – Fallout.” The next time you lock yourself out of the house with nothing and what are you even going to do now. “At least I’m not in one of the scenarios from Mission: Impossible – Fallout.” The next time a friend or loved one says something and it’s like, why would they even say that? What are they trying to do? Don’t they know you at all? Why are they doing this? “At least I’m not in one of the scenarios from Mission: Impossible – Fallout.”
Give it a try, at least. Deep breath.
At least you’re not in one of the scenarios from Mission: Impossible – Fallout.