Reverse Imagineering

I recently returned from a fabulous solo trip to Disney World. Invited for a special preview of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, I jumped at the opportunity to spend a few days alone, working and relaxing and experiencing something brand new in such a special way. I excitedly counted down the days and thoughtfully planned my hours in order to maximize my sacred and infrequent quiet time. I prepared all meals for my family for the entire length of my time away (more for my satisfaction of knowing they were taken care of than the actual need to do it).

My excitement was billowing and I was afraid sleep would come late and leave me groggy for my 6am flight. Come it did, and soon enough to require only mild amounts of caffeinated libations. I was off on my own and the feeling was incredible. I enjoy traveling with my family, of course, but there is something about leaving behind the cocoon of motherhood and spousedom that enables a person to really nurture their own soul. Garnered perspectives, personal growth and self-care manifest into a whole-person-healing kind of experience.

I have always loved Disney, the company and the man. Sure, the movies are fun and the parks are about as memorable as any childhood adventure. But what I really love, what springs my passion, is the attention to detail and the devotion to CREATING magic that Walt Disney himself demanded not only of himself but from those who worked for him. Anyone with the slightest admiration for the Disney company knows the extreme detail that goes into the imagineering of their products and services.

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge never missed a step. From the uniquely dressed cast members to the intricate ships and marketplace and shops to the hidden adventure of the play app, it blew any preconceptions out of the galaxy. The dining and entertainment were incredible and I was able to meet some fellow solo travelers, enjoying themselves as much as I was. We were living our best lives according to our own rulebook and it felt empowering and satisfying.

Fast forward a couple days and a couple hundred miles and I noticed a curious reply to a social post highlighting my trip in pictures. “I still can’t believe you did this without your kids!!! hahaha”. There it was, the black and white proof of reverse imagineering. I knew it was there. Recent commentary by some of earth’s least interesting Homo sapiens had proven that this backlash against the imagination is starting to show up like every other uninspiring rant on the social megaphone.

But this was alarming because this dear friend is one of the most creative people I know. She is incredibly talented, vivacious, driven and…fun! How could SHE not believe in the necessity of the adult imagination. Or, maybe she just doesn’t understand? It has to be a misunderstanding, right? It is scary to think so many talented and creative people could be missing the boat on the idea that just because we have exited childhood and entered the world of never-ending obligations, unequivocally does not mean we should forego the ENJOYMENT our imaginations and our individual freedoms.

I COULD explore, as well, the Land of Judgement, with its thick air of disapproval and sticky muck of underground jealousy. I could expose the haters who believe that moms should never leave their kids to be taken care of by another adult who loves them, should definitely always choose martyrdom over building something to call their own, and under NO circumstances should attempt to experience the sheer joy of child-like imagining. But I won’t do that because that script is as old as time and boring as hell.

So, how does this relate to finance? Well, quite a lot actually. If we can’t even imagine our best life, how should we ever expect to curate it? Where there is no garden of hope or field of dreams, there certainly won’t be any harvesting. It is my strong conviction that MOST of those who have made it to financial independence (are able to support their family’s needs without answering to someone else in exchange for economic currency) have done so by first sparking their curiosity and imagination. It is only a start, but it’s also the ONLY start. You cannot plan for a future that looks like the present.

Pull out your crayolas and start vision-boarding because if you believe your life on this earth is bound by time, you are correct. There is a very spectacular horizon between here and there, but you have to stop and sit long enough, get quiet enough, and breathe deeply enough to allow yourself to IMAGINE your best life. Once you do, let’s build it.

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