I am jonesing bad for a trip to Disney World. We had a trip planned for Spring Break this year – three days/nights at Universal Orlando and then 4 days/nights at Disney World. We were pretty excited.
That trip was canceled two days before we would have left due to COVID. We knew it was coming and were unsure about how it would work in the days leading up to the cancellation. We weren’t unprepared for the trip to be cancelled (for the rest of what happened after – to say we were unprepared is an understatement. I don’t think anyone could have anticipated the situation we find ourselves in today).
We also had a planned trip to Alaska with the Disney Cruise Line booked for the end of the summer 2020. I was supposed to be sitting on a veranda looking at whales and bears while sipping my morning coffee, bundled up in a cozy sweater and sweatpants.
Instead I am here in Texas. Where the real feel humidity is like 500%.
I am aware completely of the privilege of feeling sad about these losses as opposed to more significant and harder to overcome losses. My family is healthy and able to work. My children are able to learn online and are not so small as to require my constant supervision (hence the able to work!).
But I feel sad about the loss of these trips. I feel disappointed. Whenever clients try to run down their problems in the way I just did, I remind them that our problems are our problems and they are real to us and significant. It would be self-centered to ask strangers in worse situations to care about our problems as much as we do, but for us to be sad or upset about them is normal and healthy. We don’t need to be ashamed to be upset about what we are upset about.
So I am sad and upset about the loss of these trips to which we were so looking forward and I am grieving the changes that have had to be made to plans and expectations that I liked and enjoyed.
And Disney World is open and, based on the social media accounts, so gloriously uncrowded. There is a deeply irrational and self-involved part of me that wants desperately to be there to experience what it is like to be there when it is so accessible.
Accessible in a way that it has not been in a long time.
Accessible and yet out of reach.
I think that’s the cognitive dissonance that we’re all dealing with these days. It looks so much like it should be life as normal outside. And yet it is not life as normal. I am not buying back to school clothes and shoes this week, as I normally would be, because my children don’t need new shoes to sit in their room in front of a computer. To see people around my neighborhood, life is normal (apart from masks and inside dining at restaurants). Grocery stores bustle with shoppers, kids ride their bikes in gangs down the street, neighbors chat over evening cocktails in their front lawns. And yet it is not normal. We can’t plan a trip to Disney World because we don’t know when we will feel safe to go.
And yet. I have planned three different future trips to Disney World. For those who do not know, Disney makes it incredibly easy to book and cancel future trips. I see it as an act of practical irrational optimism that I have trips booked for Thanksgiving, New Years Eve, and Spring Break. Do I actually anticipate that we will take these trips? Not all of them certainly, we can only take one. But having the reservation gives me some feeling of anticipation. It’s motivating. It helps me to stay in and keep my kids from socializing the way that they would like to with friends because we’re working to get to those trips (ONE of those trips – let’s face it, we’ll be lucky to get to go on the Spring Break trip).
But I won’t cancel them.
They bring me hope and a target. A target for normalcy when it feels that actual normalcy is both appearing outside my window and miles away.
So I continue to follow Disney blogs and to listen to Disney podcasts on some of my runs because it gives me hope that one day we’ll be able to get back out there. That the efforts of those making them will eventually pay off with victory over an often invisible foe that is the COVID virus.