I adore the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In fact, I would argue that it is one of John Hughes’ finest. The struggle of a slacker to free his companion and woo his lady love while avoiding trouble is a lot of fun to watch unfold.
Matthew Broderick is at his peak for me as the title character Ferris, but frankly, the scene-stealer is Alan Ruck. At 37, he was twenty years older than his character Cameron, but one would never realize. He embodies the (occasionally literal) paralyzing fear that so many of us went through in our teen years, knowing we are more than what people assume us to be, but not really knowing how to show that in the real world.
I related so much more to Cameron than Ferris, and I think that’s the point. Ferris is what so many of us would have wanted to be in high school. Fearless and reckless, Ferris gets what he wants with seemingly few consequences, though he doesn’t seem to realize how lucky he is. Most of us are more like Cameron, with pressure and stress coming at us from every direction. We want to be brave, we want to dare, but how?
Vicarious living is great, but eventually, you have to start picking up the slack for yourself. Learn how to swallow the fear down enough to function like our idols do, in the real world. Personal disasters aren’t the end of the world, and we can own up.