It was four years ago when I stepped in Disneyland for the first time. It had been a lifelong dream. I grew up with Disney, was educated by its movies, its storytelling, its songs. For the good and for the bad. Disney told me I should never give up on my dreams, while at the same time made me believe if you always stick to your principles and be good, great things will come to you. And because of that Disney has also been the cause for heartaches, frustrations and disappointments – reality proved to be very different from what Disney made me believe.
Four years ago when I first went to Disneyland I was stuck in a bad job I knew I was going to quit from. Regardless, I needed a break. I had been working for over a year in this bad place, without a vacation. I knew I shouldn’t be spending my money is such an apparent frivolous trip to Paris. But I also knew my mental health depended on it. I was mad at the world. I had worked so hard, and there I was – stuck in a life and a place that was suffocating me. It was as if oxygen was lacking. I was someone longing for a life full of culture, experiences and adventures. And all of that seemed so far away and so impossible to achieve.
But I still did it. I needed to breath. So I went to Disneyland. That was the start of everything. Four years ago, I was a completely different person. I was afraid. Scared even. Perhaps because the oxygen I needed was lacking, I was weak. I had to swim through dark waters to get to the surface.
I was the kind of person who would never go in a roller coaster. Especially if it contained 360 degrees loops and what seemed to me 90 degrees pitfalls. I wasn’t brave enough. I was afraid, scared. Giving up control and the uncertainty that came out of it was something I would never do willingly.
Four years ago I didn’t ride the most thrilling roller coasters at Disneyland. I took photos with Minnie Mouse, Timon and Rafiki, I almost cried in a theatrical show, I had my share of fun riding a boat in a Pirates of Caribbean adventure, enjoyed the display of how special effects real work, and admired the beautiful sleepy beauty castle for as long as I could. Got in a roller coaster (with no loops) by accident, and felt like I was going to die in the Twilight Zone inspired tower (again got in there without realising what it really was).
But that was four years ago. Disneyland reminded me of who I was and I aspired to be. Why would I want to be any different from what I wanted to be when I was a child? Why would I give up my hopes and expectations and behave against my principles only because the world was making me do it?
I would quit my job, regardless everyone’s expectations and opinions. I would follow my instinct. I would jump on the roller coaster life would become ‘ not without fear, but knowing I was doing it for myself, and that’s really all we’ve got.
And I did it.
Fast forward four years, I live in London which provides me with the oxygen that was lacking before. I’ve earned more work experience in the span of three and half years that I could have earned in ten years back home. I started to explore the world map ferouscily and consuming all the culture I want. My horizons expanded, my opinions changed, as well as my views.
And when I went to Disneyland this time, four years later, I was the kind of person willing to jump in rollers coasters. I rode them all, had a massive blast – because finally, I am learning to give up control.