Thirty-one years ago today, my family and I dressed in outfits suitable for a daytime wedding and boarded an airplane to Florida for vacation. Back then, you dressed up for air travel. Wearing a tracksuit with "Juicy" spelled out across one's bum would be unthinkable, but puffing on a cigarette in the jet's smoking section was allowed.
My family's itinerary included a number of Florida attractions, but no question, our days at Disney World captivated me the most. In 1977, Disney World pretty much comprised the Magic Kingdom and River Country. That's it. No Epcot, no Animal Kingdom, and definitely no fireworks at night. And you know what? We didn't even miss them.
Ticketing at Disney World worked much differently then than it does now. Instead of the admission ticket that gave you access to all of the Magic Kingdom's attractions, you used ticket books for the rides. Disney offered five level of tickets: A, B, C, D, and E. The letter on the ticket determined the magnitude of the ride for which you could use it. The most exciting rides, like Space Mountain, required an E ticket for admission. You could use the A tickets at one of the little movie theaters on Main Street USA or the merry-go-round.
As the afternoon crawled toward evening on our second day at the Magic Kingdom, my family had depleted our supply of tickets. My brother and I knew that our parents weren't going to buy more tickets, but we didn't want to leave the Magic Kingdom so early and miss seeing the Main Street Electrical Parade once again. Fortunately, the Magic Kingdom offered a couple of attractions that didn't require tickets. Of these, "If You Had Wings" was by far the coolest because it seemed the most like a real ride. Seated in black pod-like contraptions, you'd ride through scenery of various destinations served by Eastern Airlines. Essentially, it was one giant commercial for the airline, and not all that popular, either.
But that night, "If You Had Wings" was the most exciting find for my brother and me. It moved, so it was a ride. And it didn't require tickets, so we could ride on it. And that's exactly what we did. We'd hop into a pod, travel through the ride, and when we got to the end of it, hopped off and raced to the ride's entrance to experience it again. And again. And again, much to the amusement of our parents who witnessed our scheme and the ride operator who appreciated having some business at his attraction. I can picture that scene as if it happened yesterday, my little sneakers with their white rubber toe caps striking the ground over and over so that I could get to the ride's entrance all the quicker.
This evening, I started focusing a lot on the stuff I hadn't done. I still haven't found a new dentist, I owe emails and phone calls to several people, and yet again, I nixed my intentions of going to the gym after work. And instead of a decent dinner, I ate some of that spicy snack food that I love. As I posted once before, kicking myself for all of this isn't a great way for me to be my own best friend! So I started thinking about the stuff that I did do today. I remembered a coworker's birthday. I took a 3 mile walk at lunchtime. I delegated some stuff to my intern, who did a fantastic job with it. And even though I pretty much ate junk food for dinner, I did eat an incredibly healthy salad with chicken on it for lunch.
We ADDers tend to beat ourselves up for the things that we haven't done, as opposed to what we've achieved. There's a bunch of dishes in my sink, but I finished my taxes on time. I didn't work out, but I got to see Elliott Yamin return to "American Idol" for a performance. I didn't hop on the elliptical, but I took in the lovely spring weather at lunchtime with The White Stripes serenading me through my earphones. Not bad, eh?
There's a lot of memories that I recall from that Florida vacation all of those years ago. But no question, the most vivid memory remains our night of repeated rides on "If You Had Wings". Think about it: of the entire Florida vacation I took as a kid, one of the things I remember the most was the ride that was free. And I have no idea how many times I went on a coveted E Ticket ride. The only thing that mattered was that we had a blast on "If You Had Wings".
Thirty-one years from now, I'll be 70. I'm guessing that I'm not going to care then about the kind of car I drove or whether I made the bed every day or my quest for the perfect mascara that will transform my lashes into a feathery, flirty fan. Nope, I'm pretty sure I'm going to reflect fondly on all of the fun and silly moments that I had. And just like "If You Had Wings," those moments are priceless, in more ways than one.