Stories from the Park: Taking it Slow

I am not the sort of person who naps.  I am not the sort of person who takes time out of my vacation to sit around and do nothing.  When I go to Walt Disney World, I want to do everything all day every day.  The guide books that recommend returning to the room for a rest in the middle of the day have always seemed foolish to me.  Why would anyone want to take time away from the parks to lay around a pool or nap?  You can do that anywhere.  I have always understood that people traveling with young children, older folks, or those  with physical or mental challenges need to make allowances.  Those who get up at 4:00 am to run a marathon also get a pass.  But to my thinking everyone else should come to the park to be at the park.  That’s what we have always done.  Until this last trip.

Previously, we had visited in January and October and had no difficulty dealing with the weather.  It was chilly in the mornings but basically pleasant the rest of the time.  We stayed in the parks from open to close leaving only for meal reservations  This year was different.  It was the first time we had been at WDW in the summer.  It was hot!  And even worse it was humid.  By 1:00 in the afternoon we were hot, tired, and miserable.  By Day 2 we were reorganizing our schedule to incorporate a trip back to the room to rest and change.  Not only did I nap on this vacation, I napped in the shade by the pool while the girls swam.  We would get cleaned up and head back to the parks for our dinner reservations cooler, happier, and prepared for the rest of the day.  In other words, I get it.  I understand why the guide books suggest this pattern.  It makes perfect sense.

It is very typical that we judge other people’s behavior based on out own experiences.  We assume that because we can do something, understand something, or be somewhere a certain way it must follow that everyone must have that exact same experience.  Of course, that is untrue.  We could even be standing next to someone at the exact same time at the exact same place and have an entirely difference experience.  Our impressions of events are colored by so many things.  Did we get enough sleep?  Are we dealing with stress? Are we physically well?  Do we want to be there?  There are any number of personal and cultural factors that impact how we experience any given event.  Any one of which can shift our perspective away from the perspective of the person standing next to us.  The trick is not just recognizing this, but acknowledging that differing experience does not invalidate the experience that someone else is having.

We forget in conversation that our view is not the only view.  The current trend of diminishing and minimizing someone’s concerns over language, inclusion, and sensitivity is a trend based in privilege.  Even though I might not need to nap during my vacation doesn’t mean napping isn’t a valid choice.  Similarly, just because something doesn’t offend me doesn’t mean it’s not offensive.  Someone speaking out against offensive language and policies doesn’t make them delicate or sensitive, it makes them brave.  It takes courage to challenge the status quo because people don’t like it when you do.  When we challenge was has always been acceptable, there is backlash.  It is frightening to be lone voice  It make us a target for anger, ridicule, and diminishing.  And, yes, I speak from experience on both sides of the offense.

What we need to be able to do is listen to others who try to tell us where damage is happening.  We also need to be courageous enough to speak out on behalf of ourselves and others.  Know that there is more than one way to experience any given event and that experiences other than our own have value and importance.  They can teach us and inform us.  They can help us and provide us wisdom if only we take the time to listen.


One thought on “Stories from the Park: Taking it Slow

  1. Lee Hamilton

    Celebrating differences means celebrating HOW we live differently, ad well as WHO we are individually. I need to work on saying less often, “Why would anyone……… ?”



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