My 9 year old son Aibek and I had just come away from the dazzling laser, light, and water show “Fantasma” as part of the Hollywood Studios theme park at Disneyworld. It was well after dark, we had not even had dinner, and, due to air travel complications the night before, we had been up since 5 a.m. But I knew he was not ready to call it a night. Neither was I.
”Okay, we really should be getting back to the hotel and going to bed now,” I began, seeing if he would believe me but doubting he would. “But if we could go back to any of the rides we have been on today before it closes, what would it would be?”
“Star Tours!” he exclaimed.
“Well then, let’s do it!” I said. “Who cares about the time?”
“Really?!” he asked. “Awesome.”
So, with his new, custom-made light saber in hand, we rushed toward the Star Tours exhibit, smiled when we noticed it had only a 15-minute wait, and took our place in line. As CP3O narrated us through our second harrowing space journey, Aibek took special delight in seeing that the ride was a little different from our first go-round five hours earlier. At 10:30 p.m., as he munched on his dinner of a personal pizza and carrot sticks, he flashed his thoughtful look.
“Dad,” he said, “I want to come back and do this again next year. And then the year after that. Then I want to get a job at Disneyworld so I can go on Star Tours all the time.”
Well, of course he did. He had just experienced one of those moments from childhood that he yearned to relive, to recapture, to hold onto and squeeze as tight as he had ever held his Honey Bear. And whether we ever actually come back to Disneyworld or not (I was amazed how many people we met who have come several times!), I hoped that he would never lose that feeling, that desire. We all need that sense of wanting, yearning to go back and relive something special and meaningful. And from my experience as ghostwriter of life story books and teacher of Writing Your Life Story classes, I believe we’ve all had it.
If you are writing your life story, or expect to begin telling the stories of your life sometime soon, this is something I invite you to consider. Ask yourself this question:
If you could go back and relive one moment from your childhood, what would it be?
Did you have one or more of those peak, off-the-charts experiences that made you say “I’ve got to do this again?” Maybe you did get to go back and repeat the same or similar experience. But even if you didn’t, you have the opportunity now, through writing your life story, to feel that sense of excitement, joy, and wonder again. You can go back in your mind’s eye and recreate the event that stirred something magical in you, that made you want to “go on the ride” again. And again.
Do you know what that moment is right now? Do you have more than one special experience in mind? Quick, write them down. Tell the story. Flesh out the details. Feel the sensations. Go to warp speed and take it as fast and as far as it will go. The day, or the night, is still young.
- Kevin Quirk, Personal Historian, memoir ghostwriter and author of “Your Life Is a Book And It’s Time to Write It! An A-to-Z Guide to Help Anyone Write Their Life Story” (www.yourlifeisabook.com).