No Adulting Required

“If you can dream, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started by a mouse.”
– Walt Disney

Three months ago, my husband and I took our first adult-only, non-work trip since getting pregnant with our son over 16 years ago. Yes, I know too long overdue! We went to the place everyone thinks of when they plan an adult-only trip… Disney World.

Okay, this might not be the first place that comes to mind for a romantic getaway, but it ended up being the perfect location. The trip was half timing (our son’s marching band was performing in Magic Kingdom) and half our need to disconnect from adult responsibilities and just play.

Early in our relationship, my husband and I bonded over our love of Disney movies and nostalgic memories of magical childhood trips. We’re both 90’s kids raised during Disney’s heyday of classic animated musicals. We’re the couple who sings along to the music, critiques the live action remakes, and researches the new things in the parks.

And our last adult-only, non-work trip that was over 16 years ago when we unexpectedly started our family… I think you’re going to see this coming… it was a trip to Disney World.

The location is starting to make sense, right?

This was our first opportunity to travel since the world caught on fire in 2020. After more than three years of hard adulting, we needed to dive head first into our imagination and just play for the sake of playing. There are few better places for this than the world that was created by a mouse.

In my first blog about this amazing trip, I want to talk about one of the lessons I learned when I turned off the very idea of “adulting” and tuned into what my inner child wanted me to know.

One of my favorite Disney characters is Mary Poppins. This magical nanny said, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” She had a whole song about it with snapping and singing birds.

As kids, we knew this to the depths of our soul. We could turn the most boring task into a game, a song, or a story.

Cleaning your room is more fun when you do it while fighting pirates to protect your ship (aka your bed). Getting dressed for school is easier when, after consulting your team of Barbies and stuffed animals, you put on a runway show to find the perfect outfit. Cleaning off the class chalkboard (or whiteboard as it’s called today) is best done while pretending you’re staring in your own music video.

None of those methods are the most efficient ways to do any of these tasks, but does any of that really matter?

The adults around us usually thought so. They would hear our laughter and mistake it for “kids being kids,” instead of seeing the magic of imagination in action.

It was in these moments when the most well-meaning adults would point out our inefficiencies.

If you’re like me, this is the point of the story when you think about a time when you were that adult in the room. Let me ease the pressure a bit. It’s not your fault, and it wasn’t the fault of the adults who did this to you either.

There comes a point in all of our lives when the most loving adults teach us how to survive in the adult world with the lesson that eventually makes us all grow up: the separation of play and work.

But does it really need to be this way?

Of course not! My trip to Disney helped me realize this. Thank you inner child for not giving up on me!

The reason kids laugh and dance so easily is because they choose to. It truly is that simple. Their quickly developing brains let them easily turn a messy bedroom into a desert island and a pile of dirty clothes into the perfect hiding spot. We encourage them to use their imagination and then one day we start to teach them there’s a time for play and a time for work.

Wouldn’t the better lesson be to find the fun in all things… especially those jobs that must be done?

Even in the most magical place on Earth, you can see this truth in action. There are adults who are fully taking in the experience, playing alongside the kids and cast members, and there are adults who are visibly separated from the fun around them because they’re focusing on some “adult” concern.

It’s time to break the cycle.

Who made the rules on what we’re supposed to stress about? Whoever it was, they don’t get to make the rules any longer!

Start making dinner like you’re auditioning for Gordon Ramsey. Crank up the music and clean the house like you’re filming a music video. Oh and that excel document that you’ve been dreading to create for work? Look at it for the magical data dive it is and take a little time to make it pretty with your favorite colors.

Does it need to be pretty? Probably not, but isn’t life more fun when you add in bright colors?

Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”

You’re never too adult or too busy to play! As fun as it is, you don’t need to go to Disney World to learn this lesson. Together, we can help the kids and adults in the world learn this lesson by being the example of it. Go play! Make every task in life fun. Why? Because we can and choose to do so!

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