Life is like Mission Space. Do you remember me mentioning this a few articles back? Well, this week I've been thinking about the curveball this year has thrown us, and while 2020 is shaping up to the spinning, nausea-inducing, orange version of a year, I wanted to take a moment to channel my inner Jackie Gailey and spread a little Pixie Dust on our thinking.
Most of you know that I live in Australia, the land down under, and while there are many perks of living here on this beautifully large island, its proximity to Disney parks, isn't one of them.
At a time like this, it is easy to feel disconnected from the people and things you love. For me, as you could probably guess, my love of traveling has come to a near standstill. And my affinity for Disney? Well, I feel devastatingly distant. That was, until I saw a post from one of the members of the Disboards on Facebook, and immediately all of those soul-tingling feels came flooding back.
You know that sensation you feel somewhere deep in your chest that tells you that the world has more to offer you? It's that ideal that the glass is half full; the best is yet to come; that magic can happen? Well, I felt it when I saw these photos.
Even sporting color-coordinated face masks, Michelle's family exuded excitement. That sparkle in their eyes and seeing all the sights of the Walt Disney World parks had me at hello. The warmth of Disney immersed my mid-winter blues away. I had unknowingly forgotten the power of having active passion; that feeling that lights your metaphorical fire, and strengthens you against the natural forces of the world that test your resilience.
A combination of hope for the future and a lifetime of memories swirled around in my being and tugged at my heartstrings. The result of which was the realization that, within the beauty of Disney vacations, lies a residual blanket of contentment that you can tap into at any time.
I put on some ambient music from the parks, and my mood was lifted. My being might have been in my home, but my spirits were engaged in a sense of freedom and happiness found far, far away. The sounds of a place so dear to my heart fueled something inside of me that brought a smile to my face and a comfort to my worried mind. Quite literally, it was the power of love. Not love for a person or entity, but a love of life, adventure, and optimism that had been suppressed by the stressful circumstances we are living in.
I was struck by an epiphany: that magic we feel at Disney is, in fact, created by us, our loved ones, our memories, our sacrifices, and experiences. The magic isn't in a coat of paint or a sequence of notes on a piano, it lies within ourselves; in every laugh, every smile, and every hand held along the way. We are the reason why the contentment of the parks doesn't fade when you go home. It's an elaborate work of sentimental art that we all create when there, carried home and kept safe within our souls. That is the tingle. That is the motivation to keep going. To know that such a feeling exists, and while Disney might facilitate it, we are the ones that have conceived it. Fostered it, and nurtured it. Sacrificed for it and prioritized it.
It was such a powerful feeling, that connection, and it all began with a little girl's masked smile.
In that single second, my slightly-downtrodden outlook spun a full 180 and I was reminded that those special moments are still out there to be had, they might just take a bit more planning to get to.
There is no guarantee of a better tomorrow. Ever. Not just facing this pandemic, but in life in general. I can't help but feel as though the same motto I have always lived by still applies - travel and live while you can.
For those of you contemplating a trip to the Disney parks, I whole-heartedly encourage you to go if you are in good health and not a high risk. You can get sick anywhere, at any time, with anything; many of you know I certainly have fallen victim to illness while at Disney. However, at the moment, I do believe that the surfaces on Disney property are likely cleaner than any other you will come in contact with on a day to day basis.
Sure, it might not be for everyone at the moment; some are more susceptible to infection than others and should be taking additional precautions while staying home. For me, I would be out there enjoying the magic while we can. In the meantime, I'm reminded that the tingle is always with me, etched into my soul for all time.
To summarize, my point is this: live your lives. Don't be reckless, take precautions, but don't put life on hold waiting for a perfect tomorrow to hit go again. You might be waiting for a long time, and in this life, we only have one shot.
Whatever it is that connects you with that tingling feeling I described above, go and find it; reconnect with it. Whether that is visiting the parks or bringing some of that feeling home to recreate it for yourselves, remember that it is still there, wherever you are.
I'd like to add a huge thank you to Michelle Crawford, not only for capturing the essence of Disney that I have been missing so much, but also for the generous use of her photography.