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  • Ashley Chen

This Day 9 Years Ago and Today

Two weeks ago, I was a full-fledged adult prancing around Disney California Adventure and screaming like a baby while dropping 130 feet. Right after I popped my heart back in place, I noticed the beautiful drinks coming out of Pym Testing Lab, and I wanted a part in that. Unfortunately, despite being a full-fledged adult, I still haven't crossed the legal drinking age threshold.

Nonetheless, the Happiest Place On Earth lives up to its reputation. There's the nostalgia from all the movies I watched and didn't watch as a kid, the thrill of twisting and turning in every direction, and the celebration of good times shared with friends and family. Disney's one of those places where it doesn't matter how old you are because they've made it for everyone.

It's not everyday you think to yourself that 15 hours of standing is worth it. If it was the me in third grade that went to Disney for the first time, I would've done everything in my power to leave by the fourth hour. That's why I firmly believe Disney is perfect for teenagers or young adults.

When we enter adulthood, we all think that something about us has suddenly changed. All of a sudden, life knocks at our door, begging us to leave our procrastination habits back in high school. All of a sudden, society is giving us power to be our own authorities.

Thus, with this newfound authority, I decided to go to Disney. It's been a dream of mine to reclaim parts of my childhood that I've felt like I've lost due to my breaks always being dedicated to busy work and the pandemic that prevented any traveling. Most years, I would be at summer camp, for table tennis or debate or writing. The cycle of school to camps and back to school never gave me a nice break to relax and enjoy. On occasion, we would travel.

Before this Disney trip, traveling has always been a chore. My parents would spend hours overbooking way too many attractions to do in one day, and on top of that, they’d always be boring. It made me think that what my parents define as “fun” is just reading placards next to yet another Renaissance painting. The example of adulthood that has been set in my life is bland and mundane and tasteless.

If you asked me “what do you want to be when you grow up” when I was three, I would’ve answered with “doctor” or “mathematician.” But if you ask me now who I am all grown up, I’d say that life has more to throw at me, and I want to be along for the ride. The more we move on in life, the more we develop and learn about the nuances within ourselves.

For me, life has sort of played out backwards, but not in the wrong direction. The fun and games did come after the hard work and effort. But throughout childhood, I didn’t quite grasp what exactly I was working towards. College has always been on the radar, but until senior year, college wasn’t really on my mind. So I kept being told to work harder and get better results for the reason of “you’ll understand in the future.”

And now I do understand. I understand that I’ve been stressed out and now can finally catch a break. I understand that doing things in the present only really makes sense when reflecting upon them in the future. Lastly, I understand that after all that stress, a trip to Disney really does make me feel like I’m at the Happiest Place On Earth.

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