Willy Wonka Moment

One of my best memories as a kid was going to a double feature in Moses Lake, Washington, with my cousins to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Charlotte’s Web. My magical moment, which I like to call my Willy Wonka moment, was at the end of the movie when Charlie gave back the Everlasting Gobstopper candy. This classic movie includes lots of insightful metaphors and lessons. 

Our Inner Child

What really stood out for me were the adults in the movie. Even as a kid, I could see how they lost their inner child, sense of humor, and worst of all, belief in magic. When I went through times in my life that were dark and without magic, I lost my inner child. 

Thankfully, my inner child is alive and well now. I make sure today I have a lot more Willy Wonka moments. When I meditate and pray, I ask my inner child what she needs to remind myself that she is a part of me. There is a little Debbie inside me that had a lot of amazing experiences. Going to that double feature with my cousins at the age of nine was huge! We were dropped off at the theatre with no parents. I felt so grown up! We ate as much popcorn and candy as we wanted. One of my cousins was older, and I assume the adults trusted us to behave. We did. Memories like this are golden. 

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

We should replay these stories instead of the ones that make us feel bad. Focusing on these can lead us to the road to happiness. Spending time each day writing about a memory from my childhood that made me feel good has been a powerful tool in my healing. 

As Tony Robbins says, “Change your story, change your life.” If I spend my time focusing on the terrible things that happened to me as a child, first, I will feel empty. Second, my energy will go down, and everyone around me will feel it too. Finally, and most importantly, it will affect my health. Patients with cancer are encouraged to watch funny movies and laugh for a reason. Focusing on the positive and light releases endorphins, oxytocin, and the list goes on. Our body has a pharmacy of good stuff; we just have to put it to use. I am not saying that laughter cures cancer. But I am willing and open to the possibility that my body has the ability to heal itself in various ways. 

Finding the Fun in Life

Life is not always going to be fun. We can find fun moments, which is the overall goal. Do not wait for a vacation to be a kid again. In fact, I have seen people on vacation in beautiful locations who sit by the pool and read books and do “adult things.” I never see them jump in the pool or laugh. Find a time in your day when you can be a kid and have a Willy Wonka moment. These moments are as important as meditation for me. My girls and I will sometimes put on a song and dance and laugh and just be totally silly. My son is and always has been a bit of a prankster; when he catches me doing something wrong, he will point it out, which reminds me to not take life too seriously! 

I lost a friend this year, someone I spent a lot of time with when we lived in Park City. Allen Cohen would always say, “We are not here for a long time, we are here for a good time.” He lived his life that way. He used to tell me stories of the adventures he had with his wife when they lived in Iran. Allen took risks. He shared with the world a beautiful life résumé. What is on your life résumé? Not your business résumé, but your life one? What adventures do you want to share with your friends as you get older? Personally, I loved hearing my friend’s stories. They inspired me to go live in a foreign place. Our stories are meant to do that.

Carve out time to laugh, giggle, stick your tongue out, dance crazy, be wild, and eat your favorite childhood dish! I invite you to go watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and write down which moments stand out. What will your takeaways be? This assignment is fun! 

Signing off as Little Debbiexo

Deborah Driggs

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