I just sat there, crammed into this tiny space with about five jillion other people. We were all heading to the same place and my heart was pounding really hard and I kinda felt like I couldn’t breathe and all I could do was sit and watch as the city smeared across my line of vision and then…we just stopped. I jumped up. I just had to get off this bus, but my mother told me “to be patient,” but who could be patient anyways? I mean, we were at Disney World, the Disney World. I couldn’t wait to get on the spinning teacups or “Space Mountain” or “Pirates of the Carribbean,” but it seemed like the longest line that I would have to stand in all day was this stupid line to get off the bus. (Please don’t tell my mom I said stupid, she’ll get “disappointed” and wash my mouth out with soap).
Finally, it was our turn to get off the bus and I ran ahead, almost tripping down the stairs. My daddy yelled after me “to not go too far ahead,” but they were so slow. Eventually, we did make our way into the park, but man, they were like turtles or something. Disney World was so ginormous, and I remember feeling so small standing in the shadow of Cinderella’s castle.
This Disney trip actually didn’t take place that long ago. On this Disney excursion, last summer, my inner four-year-old emerged from my fifteen…and a half-year-old self, and my Disney dreams, behind the dream of creating a castle out of cheese, but before the dream of riding an enchanted elephant, were granted (and yes, my dreams are alphabetized…I can’t say I watched all that Sesame Street for nothing).
I believe that no one really, truly grows up. I think that everyone keeps an inner child inside of them, buried beneath those episodes of “Scooby-Doo,” and all those pretend lightsabor battles with their brothers. This inner child never grows up, taking refuge in the Neverland that is our childhood memories. Obviously, my inner child, has yet to retreat into the confines of the playground that is my heart and soul.
She is constantly there, reminding me to have fun in life, to eat that extra scoop of ice cream, to play hop-scotch in my driveway, to ride “Splash Mountain” five hundred times, and to live by the philosophy of “The Little Engine That Could,” and take that extra step, summoning up more energy than anyone ever thought possible, sucking on all the joy in the watermelon lollypop that is my life. Your inner child makes you stand out in a crowd and gives you the courage and intuition to enjoy your life, to fly to Neverland, to swim with the mermaids and hunt with the Indians, to befriend the Lost Boys, to cross swords with Captain Hook, and to find out that you honestly believe in Peter Pan.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.