Where’s The Pause Button?
By Melissa Face
Most people would agree that a great way to gain a new perspective on life is to escape the ordinary routine. Traveling is good for the body, mind and spirit, and I have often felt better physically, mentally and emotionally upon returning from a trip.
I spent a week camping in the mountains and was reminded that there is much more to life than cell phones, laptops and e-mail. I rejuvenated my spirit when I spent seven days in the Caribbean challenging myself with activities that I had previously been too skeptical to try. I cleared my head and got back to my roots when I traveled to Duck, North Carolina, for a week of resting, reading and leisure.
I am aware that sometimes people need to get away in order to learn more about themselves and find the true meaning of life. Still, I never ever expected this to hold true when I traveled to Disney World a few years ago. Disney World vacations are for absolute and utter enjoyment, entertaining fun and thrilling amusement. Walt did not design his parks for deep thought, self-discovery and philosophy. Or did he?
Okay, get a hold of yourself. I’m sure you are laughing as you envision me in a philosophical pose aboard the Dumbo ride, staring in awe at Cinderella’s Castle or involved in a deep, spiritual conversation with Mickey, Minnie and Pluto. But stay with me; I promise I have a point to make.
It happened on It’s a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean at the Magic Kingdom. It happened on Spaceship Earth at Epcot. Then it happened again on the dinosaur ride at Animal Kingdom. I realized that I was doing the same thing on every ride at every park.
Regardless of how much fun I was having, I was always looking down the path to see what was ahead. And I was constantly planning what to do next while I should have been enjoying the current attraction. And then I realized that this problem is far bigger than Disney World. It is about much more than rushing through rides at a park; it is about rushing through valuable moments of life – moments we will never have the opportunity to relive.
We spend ordinary days driving fast, working fast, eating fast and shopping fast. We hurry up and get the day over with as quickly as possible so that we can begin the next one. We tap our fingers on the steering wheel while we wait in line at the drive-thru. Then we sigh in exasperation while our food cooks in the microwave. But it’s a microwave for crying out loud! It’s already fast!
So my question is, we’re in a rush all of the time but for what? Where are we going and what are we going to do when we get there? It would appear that we are trying to accomplish the mundane tasks as quickly as possible so that we can have more time with our families. But this can’t be the case in a day and age where the family meal is virtually non-existent, children receive lessons in morality from TV instead of from their parents and divorce rates are at their highest.
Perhaps we’re in a hurry because we are simply trying to squeeze too much into a 24-hour period. Maybe we should take inventory of our lives and determine how much of what we are doing is really necessary. And more importantly, is it worth sacrificing valuable and irreplaceable family time?
I have always heard that life is not a dress rehearsal, but now I am really trying to live by this wise saying. I want to enjoy the entire process of life and not rush through it. We all know the end result, so why not take pleasure in the journey?
It may seem like a silly analogy, but Disney World was my wake-up call. I can somewhat understand rushing through a business meeting, hurrying through a meal or speeding down the highway. But rushing through a vacation (at the most magical place on earth I might add) is inexcusable. Do we really want to hurry up and get life over with? I don’t. I want to press the pause button.
About this writer
- Melissa Face lives in Virginia with her husband, son and dog. Her stories and essays have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort. E-mail Melissa at email@example.com.