My family has been in town this weekend, which seemed like perfect timing.
We’re really close and seeing them has had a grounding, calming effect on me so far… or maybe that’s just exhaustion. ;)
Today, we have a trip to Disneyland planned.
When I was growing up, my family would make annual trips down to Southern California to visit the Mouse House, and every year I would look forward to it. I know that not every family feels this way, though.
When I tell most people that we’ll be going to Disneyland, they offer their condolences in the form of empathetic raised eyebrows and “awww”s. If it’s not that, it’s an “oof” as if I’ve punched them directly in the stomach simply by telling them of our 12+ hour escapade to come.
People automatically assume that I’m being dragged, kicking and screaming, to the most magical place on earth.
And who would blame them?
Most people go to the park expecting a long day, long lines, expensive food and souveniers, dehydration, and crying children… oh, the crying children.
How I was raised, however, makes our experience much different.
I can sum up my family’s philosophy in this one instance that is slightly off subject, but bare with me…
One Christmas, as I was getting to be a teenager, but my brother was still young enough to believe that a metabolically-challenged man from the north pole would act as the UPS of joy for the whole world in one night, I asked my Dad, honestly:
“Do you believe in Santa Claus?”
He thought for a second, surely knowing what a pivotal question this was, and the weight of his answer. After careful deliberation, he answered:
“I don’t believe in the man, but I do believe in the magic.”
You know those memories from your childhood that seem like they were plucked out of a movie? That’s one of my top 3.
Since then, my value on magic and the ability to admit that I believe in such an ethereal quality has been paramount to my enjoyment and anticipation of our annual trips to Disneyland, the holidays, and many of the other things in life.
But to believe in magic outwardly and unapologetically is not universally accepted. In fact, many people look upon these beliefs as ridiculous, or immature.
Should I have grown out of this state of mind?
Maybe… but I fought the natural progression that beats it out of people.
As we get older, I’d say from teen years and beyond, we tend to adapt this sense of jaded-ness. We almost refuse to get excited.
We lose our sense of “play.”
I’m going to urge you to fight back. I’m going to urge you today to opt for the ridiculous and reclaim your sense of magic.
When you believe in “magic,” you don’t need to start worshipping wizards or clapping for fairies. The way I’m talking about magic today is the ability to extend your belief-system, rid yourself of embarassment and self-consciousness, and be ridiculous.
When we hit Disneyland, my family goes all-out. My mom and I wear Pooh Bear ears, my Dad wears his Indiana Jones hat, and my Brother and his wife buy turkey legs to devour as we stand in line.
I credit this ability to look ridiculous with many of my achievements in life:
I am a successful trainer for 2 reasons: I constantly push myself to gain the latest scientific exercise knowledge, and I don’t care what other people think of my outward happiness.
I run around the gym with a smile on my face.
I take dance breaks with clients.
I laugh. Loudly.
I get stared at fairly often because of the way I act, but I just don’t consider being any other way.
People choose to train with me because of my knowledge and because training is fun with me, not torture.
I have been successful in the first year of my blog because I don’t care if people judge me for my story. I post what I am struggling with so that you can learn from it, knowing that it shows my flaws and vulnerability. I post on things like magic and The Hunger Games, because life is meant to be enjoyed, not taken too seriously!
Today, I want to go over with you some actions to take to re-invoke this sense of play in your life, so that you can experience more magic every day. No Disney necessary. :)
Stop Expecting The Worst
Many people don’t enjoy Disneyland for the same reasons that people stop enjoying their work, their partners or their workouts:
They go in expecting the worst.
If you start a day, thinking that it will be long, hot, hectic, stressful, or otherwise unpleasant, you will create that experience because you will be focused on the things that fulfill that expectation.
Instead, consider the possibilities.
What positive, magical things could happen today?
Start focusing on the little things that make you smile, and everyday life will be more extraordinary.
If you’re at work, did your coworker grab you a coffee on his way in?
Do you have less emails than you thought you would after the long weekend?
Did someone compliment your outfit today?
If you’re working out, is this run getting rid of all that stress you’re feeling at work?
Can you go slightly deeper into your lunge today?
How much heavier is the weight you’re lifting today than one year ago? Can you go heavier?
Wherever you are, there is always a silver lining. Start training yourself to see it before the clouds, and your outlook will lighten with practice!
See The World With “Wow Eyes”
One of the reasons that the crying children don’t get to me so much at Disneyland is that I’m more focused on the kids with the “wow eyes.”
The kids who are seeing their favorite characters or walking through the castle for the first time.
If you watch a child experience either of these things, you have no choice but to believe in magic. You can see it in their eyes.
Develop some “wow eyes” of your own: start seeing the world as if it’s brand new.
On your way to work, notice the color of the sky, the way the sun hits your face through the window, the feeling of your worn steering wheel against your knowing hands…
In your workout, feel the surge of strength as you get through the last few reps, the rush of adrenaline as you do your first sprint, the calming effect of breath as you hold your arm balance.
Every day, you have the chance to notice something you may have never paid attention to before. This one thing can add magic to your entire day if you let it!
Let Yourself Go
This part’s a lot of fun.
Act ridiculous! Feel free to look stupid! Make a raucous!
Don’t be afraid of judgement from others because, in the end, it doesn’t matter what they think.
It only matters how much YOU enjoy YOUR life.
Personally, I enjoy life a lot more when I feel freer to express myself.
At Disney, the people having the most fun are the ones playing together, giving over to their imaginations and allowing themselves to look ridiculous.
You don’t need a theme park to act like this. You can do it in everyday life if you choose to!
All you need to do is allow yourself to fully, outwardly enjoy what you’re doing, without regard to what others will think.
Don’t give in to the people who want to tear down your joy; you deserve to be happy. As happy as you want and allow yourself to be.
Maybe they’ll start looking at you doing it, and feel more free to do it themselves!
The bottom line is this:
You control how much you enjoy your life.
In my experience, enjoyment comes from letting go and refusing to let other people’s judgement deter me from happiness.
I find that it’s this way for most people. What are your thoughts?
Do you let yourself experience the magic of the moment? Do you still have your sense of play?
Help someone else that might be afraid to play: tell us in the comments how you play in everyday life, and any tips you may have to inject some magic into your everyday!
Wishing you and those you love a ridiculous day,