I choose to believe that there are some moments in life that take us from who we think we are to who we’re meant to be. I say that carefully and honestly with a little bit of hesitancy driven from a reality that many of us never quite understand why things happen in life.

Maybe that’s not the opening you were expecting, but as with anything involving me, often what you don’t expect surprises you the most. To be honest with you, the only tie I have between this article and a place that so many of us call home is the reality that the greatest moments in life often are the ones we least expect to occur. I believe that’s true of the Disney parks and resorts, but quite frankly in life in general. There are unexpected challenges, unexpected things, but ultimately unexpected joys that astound us time and time again.

I know I often fail to wax poetically on topics like this but at the same time I think there’s value in a realization that often today is not only our greatest opportunity to be happy, but also the greatest opportunity for something to happen in our lives. Something that can make tomorrow greater than we had ever hoped for.

You see, so often we step into the parks and we walk into these stories of fantasy to escape a reality that we oh so wish was a little bit different than what it might be. Maybe we’re doing ourselves an injustice by living that way. It’s not that it’s inherently bad to have an escape. Quite frankly, it’s one of many things that have kept, not only me, but so many of us happy over the last year and a half. I can’t be the only one who feels that way? However, I think there’s a joy in taking a step back to realize what’s important and where often the greatest joys in life are discovered.

Maybe the greatest moments of joy in your life are walking down Main Street hand in hand with your family or significant other that you wouldn’t trade for the world. Maybe your greatest moment of joy in life is sitting around a table in your dining room playing a simple game with family or friends. Maybe your joy is a quiet moment watching a sunset all on your own. I can’t answer that question for you, but to me there’s always a connection. There are often moments in life that you realize you appreciate the things and scenarios not because of where you are or what you’re doing but rather because you’re simply there and enjoying living for a few seconds.

Think about that. Simply living and enjoying life are often the greatest moments in life. At the same time though, we all continue to chase what’s next. Maybe that will ruffle some feathers, and don’t get me wrong, I love ambition and goals, and unashamedly have more dreams than I’ll ever achieve, but to me that’s the future. Living happens today.

So, why do I share all of this? I share it because often times the greatest thing we can do in life is be ourselves, love what we love, enjoy what we enjoy, and despite any setbacks, enjoy today. Maybe that sounds sad, but I hope it sounds hopeful because I think more of us need that in the world we live in today than just about anything else. Remember that sometimes in life there’s more value in seeing others happy than there is in any next accomplishment, next adventure, next goal, or even next attraction on your list in the parks.

I’ll leave you with this. Next time you’re in the parks or simply at the grocery store, take a moment to look around you. Create a memory for your family. Help someone who seems like they’re struggling to enjoy their day. Create a life you’re proud to live by not being afraid to be who you are. I know I’m not the only one who spent way too long worrying about that.

“The noblest art is that of making others happy.”

– P.T. Barnum