A couple of weeks ago, our family resurrected the yearly tradition of having a Disney movie night on Saturdays.
We watch a Disney movie as a family and we have a fun menu based around that movie.
This past weekend, our movie was UP!
Menu was pretty simple: Dug’s Dogs, Russell’s Wilderness Explorer fries, Ellie’s Grape Soda and Carl’s UP Cakes.
UP! is one of my favorite Disney/Pixar movies. I think it’s a vastly underrated movie in the Disney collection. I say underrated because it doesn’t get the attention of movies like Finding Nemo or Toy Story.
But I think it’s every bit as good as those movies.
While I was watching the movie, I felt the message of the movie more than ever.
If you haven’t seen it yet (I won’t spoil it), the main plot of the movie is 78-year-old Carl rigs his house up to float using thousands of balloons and he sets out on an adventure to Paradise Falls. He ends up having a stowaway in the form of Wilderness Explorer Russell, who just wants to help the elderly so he can earn his last badge.
Carl and Russell find themselves in a fight for their lives against world famous adventurer Charles Muntz, who Carl at one time idolized.
That’s kind of the condensed description of the movie.
But the sub-plot is what leads me to write this blog today.
The premise of the movie is Carl and Ellie meet as young kids with a thirst for adventure. They grow old together, but never get to take that adventure that they had planned and saved up for their entire lives.
Instead, along the way, they have little adventures that sidetrack them from their big adventure. Some of those adventures are sad (very sad), some are happy.
Some are frustrating. Some are fulfilling.
But that one adventure, the one to Paradise Falls, that they had shaped their entire lives around never happened.
That’s what leads Carl to action. Instead of sitting idly by and letting his life pass in front of his eyes, he sets out on a mission to make it to Paradise Falls in his floating house.
That’s when Russell comes into the story and so on.
The first 15-20 minutes of the movie are the most powerful moments you might ever see in a “children’s cartoon.”
The message is really clear. No matter how much life throws at you, never lose sight of what keeps you living.
In this case, for Carl it was Ellie and for Ellie it was Carl. The adventure to Paradise Falls is what brought them together.
But their love for each other is what kept them going.
Through all the trials and tribulations (I won’t spoil the sad parts, but I’ll admit it brings me to tears every time), Carl and Ellie use that Paradise Falls trip as the foundation of their relationship.
It got me thinking. Too often in life we lose track of that foundation.
We get caught up in feeling sorry for ourselves and we forget what it was that made us who we were in the first place.
We lose sight of that adventure and we get into a monotonous routine of wake up, go to work, sleep and repeat. We don’t stop to take the time to cherish those mini-adventures.
Whether they’re good or bad, those adventures shape us.
Every thing that has happened in my life defines who I am.
Once you get that message, it’s time to focus on the even bigger message — you’re NEVER too old to take that adventure.
Look, let’s be honest, there aren’t many people in this world doing what they set out to do. Along the way, side adventures happened and eventually what you once wanted out of life became just a dream.
If you are doing exactly what you set out to do in life, consider yourself lucky. It doesn’t always work out that way.
More often than not, you settled for something else. Now, that doesn’t mean your life isn’t great. You make the most of your situation and it will be a good life, even if it’s not the way you mapped it out as a freshman in high school.
But what UP! shows us is that it’s never too late. Don’t give up on that dream you once had.
Keep pursuing the dream. If you haven’t worked toward that dream in a few years, pick it back up.
You might not become that movie star you dreamed of being, but you can go find your local theater company and get involved there.
You may never become that world-famous comedian, but you could find an open mic and experience the feeling of making people laugh.
Carl was 78 years old when he set out for Paradise Falls, and he did so because he wanted to make good on a “cross your heart” promise he made to Ellie.
He proved it’s never too late to make good on a promise, even a promise you made to yourself.
So, live your life like UP! Go out and pursue your dreams.
Thanks again for reading. Please feel free to share with your friends, especially those that love Disney.
And remember to always let your conscience be your guide.