Life Moves Pretty Fast

people-mover-magic-kingdomMy favorite ride at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. While our 13-year old will argue the attraction isn’t a ‘ride’, I disagree. Sure, grandma’s 6-volt Rascal is quicker off the start, and a FastPass is unheard of, but that’s what makes this ride unique in an arena of ever increasing thrills-per-square-inch attractions.  Opened in 1975, the PeopleMover is a leisurely 10-minute ride on an elevated track, overlooking the attractions of Tomorrowland.  While not in the same adrenaline-rush category as the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Splash Mountain, heck, not even Peter Pan’s Flight, PeopleMover remains a pleasant reminder of days gone by, a time when the pace was slower and tattoos were restricted to Marines and the occasional exotic dancer.

Amidst a fast paced, over-crowded Theme Park, fraught with 100 minute wait times, screaming kids and sweaty parents, PeopleMover is an oasis of calm.   A chance to sit, to relax, if not for a moment, and gaze upon the wonders of  park life in all its maniacal glory.  A moving snapshot in time.

And yet many miss the opportunity entirely.

Those who do pause to take a ride often miss the benefit, faces buried in their smartphones, confirming reservations, switching FastPasses, or uploading selfies to Facebook.

I realize Disney vacations are often a once in a lifetime adventure for many, the single day ticket price alone is enough to up the stress level for most, so it’s understandable visitors try to cram as much entertainment into the day as possible.  One hundred dollars a day per person has the tendency to motivate.  But it’s important to pause occasionally, to step back and reevaluate, albeit for 10 minutes.  The ability to slow down, observe, listen to the sounds, smell the excitement and truly experience the moment, is lost on many.

It’s a lot like life.

magic-kingdomWith our eyes fixated on our digital addictions, we plan the future, and entirely miss the present.  Not unlike photos we’ve all seen, capturing a swarm of fans desperately trying to film a moment, instead of experiencing it.  Who knows, maybe they’ll even look at the images one day.  Odds are they won’t, that tidbit supplanted by fifty more images before the day is through.  We tell ourselves we’ll look at them all one day, when we have time, when we retire, when the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup.  Or we’ll post to Twitter, Facebook, for the enjoyment of millions, all of whom will never see it.

But guess what?

The time was right – when it occurred.

In our lifetimes we will acquire hundreds of hours of video and thousands of photographs, all capturing the moment, but not necessarily the experience.  Preserving memories is an inherent, and at times overpowering fixation, warranted and worthwhile to a degree, but often, overdone.

In the words of Ferris Bueller;

ferris-buellers-life-moves-pretty-fast1

If you don’t put it down once in a while, you will miss it.

We all fall into the trap.  Like neurotic personal assistants, planning each fifteen minute block of our lives, we miss life slipping by.  Time ticks on, until one day, it’s up.  And chances are, those we leave behind will not be queueing up for the rights to own our 27,000 photographs and 1,200 videos.

From an old stack of VHS tapes to a pile of Sony mini-cassettes, to a shoebox full of Panasonic micro-cassettes, and finally a terabyte of digital data, I have enough images and home movies for two lifetimes.  I wouldn’t trade them for the world, but the truth is, I will never get around to appreciating them.  Not all of them anyways.

I lived those moments, but I realize now, I missed them also – ballet recitals, school plays, meeting Mickey Mouse.  So careful was I to preserve the moments for future me, I short-changed some of the original wonder from days-gone-by me.  A trade-off, and one with no guarantees.  Like a game of chance, folding on a pair of Aces today, in hopes of a Full House in the future.

I have learned.  While I’m still quick to grab my Nikon, or in a pinch, my IPhone, it’s for a brief capture or photograph, then I put it away and live the moment.  Watching birthday candles extinguish, gifts opened on Christmas morning, high school graduation -all the better seen through the eyes, not the screen.

I still have a ways to go, but I think I’m heading in the right direction.

You can keep your roller coasters.

I’m happy with the PeopleMover.

Until next time,

32 thoughts on “Life Moves Pretty Fast

  1. Love it – the stories I’ve been able to retell and share about an experience when I got it right and stayed present are so much more fun and engaging than any videos or photos. I vote for an international “Humans Being” day, where we all shut off the technology and just be present with each other!

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    1. Sorry Kirstie, I thought I’d already replied to you, but I don’t see it. Totally agree, experiencing with all the senses at once, unobstructed, makes a much deeper imprint in our memory banks. The ‘Human Being Day’ may come, but will be likely due to a major power grid failure, which unfortunately, brings out the wrong side of some people. As long as there’s more of us than them! Cheers for the comment!

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  2. I was fortunate in 1992 & 1997 to visit Florida, in 1992 my daughter was 2 years and 9 months old. There was about 27 of our family that travelled from the UK. My brother was getting married in cypress gardens. It was mine and my husbands first flight. My memories started on the plane journey. We had no mobile phones, just a camera. We soaked up every day. It was the start of my illness. But we made sure we felt every second. I will never forget standing on main street, in the magic kingdom, I still feel the goosebumps all over my body and looking down at my daughter and seeing the look of amazement on her face. I will never forget that, as long as I live. Thankyou for bringing my my memories back of a wonderful holiday. I have lots of photos, back up drives, with photos on. But I can honestly say I try and have tried every day of my life to stop and smell the roses. Hope you have a good day. God bless ☺️

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    1. Thank you for sharing. The emotion and wonder your family felt, is something I love watching in others when I’m down. We are able to visit often as we have a vacation condo nearby, so whenever we go, it’s more about just experiencing the moment, than trying to see all the sites. Lots of UK visitors, always, I always listen for accents, try to determine how far people travelled to attend. I am happy your memories are so strong, photos of those special moments are golden. You have the right attitude, one that many people only realize far too late in life. Cheers, and thanks for sharing your story of your first visit!

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  3. Mike- it is hard to live in the moment when you are looking toward the future. You are so right about trying to capture special events that we miss actually experiencing them. For the past couple of months, I have been living in the present. It is something that I am not used to doing but I want to take time to enjoy life for a change. Thanks for this thought provoking post.

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    1. Thank you Susan. All of us need reminding occasionally, me included. It’s like living for the weekend, we all want the weekdays to pass, just to get to Saturday, but that’s a poor trade-off – 5 days of our lives wished away. I know it refers to the work week, but still, but we can’t all wait until retirement to enjoy every day. Thanks again for commenting. Cheers!

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      1. I am a Genesis and Gabriel fan as well. One of my favorite Genesis songs is I Know What I Like and another is The Carpetcrawlers. One of the lines that sticks with me from Solsbury Hill is “I’m never where I want to be.” If I ever become a noteable personage (LOL) that will be the title of my autobiography. Cheers!

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      2. Agreed! The Lamb is still my favourite double album of all time. Selling England, Nursery Crime, Trick of the Tail, and even the sans-Gabriel ones like And Then There Were Three and Duke, all fantastic. I have watched Peter Gabriel’s live Secret World concern on DVD umpteen times, it is the best concert I’ve seen, too bad that tour was one I missed. Cheers!

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      3. He was in Toronto June 29th, he’s currently touring with Sting, the Rock, Paper Scissors Tour, actually, it may have just ended. A co-worker saw the concert and said the two singers were magnificent together, occasionally singing each other’s songs.

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  4. Unfortunately we forget to stop and stare, enjoy moments, live life. I am happy I was born before tablets, mobile phones and emails. I grew up loving to write a letter, playing outside with other kids and loving every season with its changes

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    1. Myself as well. Only 5 channels on tv when I was a kid, one telephone in the house, and everything shut down when the street lights went on. We found ways to have fun, spending 75% or our days outside. How it’s changed. Thanks for commenting!

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  5. You’re so right about this! Last night there was an incredible sunset after a storm, but I was driving, and really getting sad that I couldn’t photograph it. And then I had a little laugh because how silly is it that I’m sitting there all irritated when my time would be better spent just enjoying the sunset from out the window? You have a great, fun writing style, btw!

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    1. Thanks so much! It’s always great when we’re able to catch ourselves and adjust our attitudes. It’s like being on watch around the clock for me sometimes, it’s so easy to slip to the dark side in an instant. Thanks for the kind words and I look forward to keeping in touch!

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  6. I love everything about Disney! It’s just so magical and our first trip did NOT disappoint. I loved everything right from the start. Planning the trip was so much fun. So many choices and things to do and see! Loved it all!

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    1. My wife had been before, I’d never been . My first time was about 6 years back. Now we have annual passes. Disney does it right, something for everybody, no matter what age. Glad to meet another Disney lover. Thanks so much for commenting!

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