Gather round young whippersnappers. In the old days, Disney theme parks used to sell paper tickets for rides throughout the Magic Kingdom. When I was eleven years old, I remember my parents buying a pack for each of us, with tickets marked A through E. The E-tickets were for something really awesome like Space Mountain. A-tickets got you something lame like a Steamboat Willie cartoon on Main Street.
Yes, the E-tickets were precious and I wanted to use them wisely… but here was the quandary. Do you use your E-tickets first and enjoy life to its utmost RIGHT NOW, or do you delay gratification and save them for later… using the A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s to work your way up to the big finale?
I decided to ration my fun. I remember the lines being really long for the best E rides, and I thought I would just wait until later in the day to work them in. We did the Autopia, Mad Hatter Teacups and other fun mid-tier rides, but Space Mountain and the Matterhorn were going to be the headliners later on.
Well, to make a short story shorter, we almost ran out of time to do those awesome roller coasters. Luckily we worked them both in by nightfall, but I remember almost going home with an unused E-ticket! What a shame that would have been!
How are you doing with the opportunities to really live your life? Are you saving up to have fun later, or jumping on the coaster right now and throwing your hands in the air? I’ve chosen to do more personal E-ticket items (climbing, racing, speaking, writing) in the past three years than in the previous ten.
It’s good to pace yourself in your life. It’s also good to give yourself in the service of others. But do you want to get to the end of your journey with E-tickets still in your hand? That would be a shame.
Timely as usual, David. LOL I remember the “E” Ticket well, and being too young to use it at the time, not meeting the height requirement. So it’s like ‘conditioning’ kids to believe they have to ‘wait and be patient’ in order to get that ticket to ride.
Interesting if you think about it.
Right now… I’m ready to use my E-ticket. After taking care of a mother for twenty-six years with Alzheimer’s Disease….. now that she’s passed, I finally get to live on my terms.
And while I had to ‘ration’ my fun in order to do what was in front of me – regarding family obligations and responsibilities….I have to tell you, I don’t have regrets. I believe that I can finally ENJOY my “E” ticket the way it was meant to be enjoyed – from perspective of appreciation.
When you’re a kid and you’re not tall enough to ride the “E” Ticket rides… it’s natural to be ‘bummed out.’ But as kids we don’t think too deeply about how LUCKY WE ARE to have that “E” ticket really. Now – on the other side of life, as you go through things, you learn to appreciate, count your blessings, understand how precious life and life experiences are and savor the fruits of your labor to REALLY taking the “E” Ticket ride to another dimension.
I think the ride is sweeter, more enjoyable….you realize that life is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest and you throw all caution to the wind. And while as children maybe we were so innocent to do so anyway, as an adult full of wisdom, who has overcome challenges, I think the liberation and the THRILL is more invigorating … every second is over the top and wonderful.
So …. let’s buckle up kids. Oh and as a former Disney alumni… “Remain seated please, and remember to keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle… and no flash photography…” LOL
Love this Stacey 🙂 Things are much sweeter when looking through the lens of appreciation!
An additional thing that can be learned from your story is the question of time invested and short term pain for increased pleasure later.
In reality, almost no one delays instant gratification. But, isn’t that part of the problem? We choose (not waiting in line for a mediocre ride) a lot of instant little gratifications because there is little to no pain in lieu of reaching longer term goals or higher levels of happiness that can only come about through extra effort and hard work and often time. If you don’t choose to endure the pain at some point, you truly can run out of time to have the most fulfilling experiences in life.
Good point Mike T. The risk of pain stops many in their tracks.
Awesome post David!
I LOVE your analogy! NOBODY wants to “go home” with E-tickets in hand. Myself included! However, if you don’t pace your life, you will find yourself holding nothing but a Main Street Trolley pass by noon and no money (or tickets) left for anything fun the rest of the day…jeez…you may as well “go home” early!
Great lesson, great perspective (as usual).
Thanks for reading and passing it along Bo!
Oh unfortunately I have to admit I have saved all my E tickets. You know I have always wanted to travel. In fact this article is so timely. While sitting at a Labor Day BBQ I said to my friend someday I hope to make it over to the country where you are from. And she kindly said, “Faith, you and your someday. You have been saying that you will do these things for so long. I just don’t think your someday will ever come.” It was sad, but honest feedback that I actually really appreciated. I have earned almost 25 days of vacation at work. So I’m hoping to take some of it and travel to the places I have had on my list since I was 5 years old. And when I’m there I’m going to send postcards to all my friends that simply say greetings! from someday.
Faith: You just reached an important realization… that you can simply decide what happens next for you. Once the decision is really made, and given a deadline, it becomes real.
I’ve been chasing somedays all my life. Some I have crossed off the list. Some are about to happen. Some I haven’t even thought of yet 🙂