9 Quotes To Live By If You're In Search Of The Great Unknown

9 Quotes To Live By If You're In Search Of The Great Unknown

"We are always in search of words to live by."
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There are times in our lives when each of us loses our sense of direction. We stray from the path that we are aimlessly wandering down, looking for a renewed sense of purpose and a fresh source of inspiration. We look beyond the already fragmented limitations of life and push forward to discover our own truths. We count each of our blessings as we experience our greatest traumas. We reflect on our successes as we encounter our losses. We look to the sky for our angels as we come face to face with our demons.

The hands on the clock spiral endlessly, as we discover once again that time stops for no one. We know that life has more to offer us than what we are receiving - more opportunities, more stability, more peace. We remain in constant motion as we find ourselves in search of the great unknown. We are always in search of a deeper meaning. We are always in search of words to live by.

1. “How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.” - Rupi Kapur, Milk and Honey

2. “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is now.” - Chinese Proverb

3. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill

4. “There are no regrets in life. Just lessons.” -Jennifer Aniston

5. "Don't be humble... you're not that great." -Golda Meir

6. "Fortune favors the bold." - Proverb

7. "I can live without money, but I cannot live without love." - Judy Garland

8. “The best revenge is massive success.” - Frank Sinatra

9. “Enjoy it. Because it’s happening.” - Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower


Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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18 Ways The Disney College Program Destroys You

"I can only hope we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse" - Walt Disney
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The Disney College Program, three little words that may or may not forever change your perspective of the world. Working for Disney has been my dream since I was a little kid. That’s all I ever wanted to do with my life-- to become a part of the magic. It wasn’t just because it’s Disney World, the most magical place on Earth. It's because I truly admire everything that this company stands for. Disney is all about bringing families and friends together, creating memories that will last a lifetime and sprinkling a little pixie dust over this magical place that I’ve called home for eleven months. I knew all of this when I received that “Congratulations!” email. Excitement rushed through my veins . The world of possibilities had finally opened its door for me. What I didn’t know, was what those possibilities truly meant, until post DCP depression kicked in. It's a real thing my friends.

1. You are always going to be an extremely friendly and approachable person.

No matter where you are or who you are talking to, you can't help to smile. You always carry a welcoming vibe with you, no matter what situation you are placed in. Working for Disney taught you how to have the patience of a Saint when it comes to dealing with people. You learned that the best way to communicate is listening to everyone with an open mind, even if they’re screaming in your face about Test Track being out of FastPasses.

2. You are constantly finding hidden Mickeys in the real world.

Admit it, your mind creates hidden Mickeys out of almost every random three circle formation. You can’t help it. You have Disney on your mind all the time.

3. You are FULL of Disney Park fun facts.

Did you know that there are 11,324 triangles that make up Spaceship Earth?!

You love sharing your vast pool of knowledge of random Disney Park fun facts. Sometimes even when people don't care about it, you just have to talk about all the things you learned as a CP.

4. You also may speak ride spiel.

“We're not gonna make it, we're not gonna make it"- Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

When you work for Disney, you live and breath Disney. You couldn't even count how many times you've been to the park, even just to hub grass and chill or ride the People Mover four times in a row. Those spiels were a part of your everyday life. You know when you are riding Hunted Mansion with a boatload of cast members when everyone in the stretch room whispers, "I am your host, your ghost host". Going to the park almost every day is a part of CP culture. Accidentally referring to ride spells still sometimes slips into your daily conversation. Did you really do the college program if you don't know at least one ride spiel?

5. You constantly feel the need to get down the small child's level and talk to them about their favorite Disney characters.

"Hi Princess! My, you look dashing today, what Kingdom did you travel from?!"

What you would do to get back to the days when you were paid to sit on the ground to talk to a child dressed up as Cinderella. You see a child at your real world job and you feel the need to ask them about the about their favorite Disney movie. You catch yourself accidentally referring to people as princess in the real world, but it instated of the magic it used to produce, they look at you like you’re a crazy person. *sigh*

6. If your friends hear you say, ”So this one time in Disney…" one more time they may punch you in the face.

OMG-- this reminds me of this one time in Disney when...*insert story of an amazing day you and your Disney fam had here.*

You can’t help it, every single day was filled with an adventure during your CP. You want to share your stories with everyone you encounter. It's like word vomit. The second something reminds you of your CP there is no stopping you. Your friends back home may either get really annoyed or end up learning everything you did when you had free access to Disney World.

7. Boy do you miss the days when Mondays were happy.

"We love you Mondays, we do."

For some who were into the social scene, you blankly gaze out your window on a Monday night wondering what county you would have been playing at Son On The Beach. You watch your remaining CP friends' Snapchat stories and think to yourself, "Anzacs VS. Gayllerie!? Ugh, must have been a good game." You miss the days when your only struggle was to make it out of work on time to get to Happy Mondays. Your friends back home wonder how you are so freakishly good at flip cup. It’s a CP thing.

8. 90% of your best friends are long distance.

Skype dates are essential.

You created bonds with people from all over the world during your CP. You celebrated holidays with these people. You spent every single day with them during your time in Florida. Your program would never be as magical if it wasn't for the amazing people you met here. Some of these people turn into your life long best friends-- even if they currently reside 12 hours ahead of you. There isn't a day that goes by that you don’t think about you CP BFFs. When they say you will meet the most amazing people you will ever interact with working for Disney, they were not kidding. These people are even more than friends to you, they are family. If it means staying up till 2AM to Skype with your old roommate, who now lives on the other side of the world, it doesn't even cross your mind how late it is. Catching up with them is always worth it.

9. You probably have roughly 500 "I'm Celebrating" buttons.

"Happy squad-iversary!"

You found every excuse in the book to rock an "I'm Celebrating" button when you and your squad hit the parks. "I'm celebrating ERs" was a great one to sport when you got off work early. The button days were the special days. You could probably fill an entire cork board with all of the buttons you collected over your CP. Thank goodness for that, you'll have a tangible memory of those magical days for a lifetime.

10. The clock strikes 3:00PM and you know the Festival Of Fantasy Parade is strolling out of Frontier Land.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the time has come to take your places” -The Festival Of Fantasy Parade.

You continuously catch yourself looking at the clock around 3PM and feeling a little empty inside. To all the days before work when you watched that parade with your roommates, you were the greatest. You can always spot a cast member as “dreams that glow” blur down Main Street. They are usually the ones dancing along and singing as their favorite floats pass by. What you would do to relive those days.

11. You know a lot about the world and the people it's made up of.

I’d be real keen to learn about your culture over some Maccas, eh.

You know to never tell an Australian their accent sounds like a Kiwi's or visa-versa. You can spot the difference from miles away. You’ve learned the lads from down under are some of the funniest people you’ll ever interact with, and there are in fact, no kangaroos in New Zealand— just wallabies. You know that the people from Spain and Brazil are usually down for some fun and it's always a good time to kick back with your friends from France or The Netherlands. It's true that the Italians are loud and outspoken, in the best way possible. The people from Japan are simply the some of the sweetest. You meet so many people from all over the world and learn so much about their culture. You get more of a feel for all of the greatness the world is made up of than any textbook could ever explain.

12. You could draw a map of Magic Kingdom blindfolded.

“Nearest FastPass kiosk?!” “Down the pathway to the left!

Not only is Disney World your home, but you know every square inch of it. You could still probably give someone directions to the nearest quick service restaurant of your location, from wherever you are currently sitting in the world.

13. Applying for jobs? Disney always makes you stand out.

“Wow, you worked for Disney World? Tell me more about that!”

Your resume stands out among the thousands. Potential employers want to hear about your Disney College Program experience and you are over the moon to share. You tell them about the days where you immersed guests into the theme of your location and all of the magic you made. Working for the number one entertainment company is something to be proud of.

14. You are constantly checking airline prices to reunite with your roommates and get back to the place that started it all.

There is nothing better than reuniting with your Disney family. Your most visited web pages are airlines sites. You count the days where you can rule the parks again with your favorite people by your side. You can't help but to run to them in the middle of MCO with tears in your eyes and magic in your heart, ready to create even more memories together. You know you found forever friends in them, it's never goodbye— it's see ya real soon.

15. You have a strong emotional attachment to certain rides of shows.

"The best part is, you'll never run out of wishes"- Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.

There are some shows and rides that take you right back to the days where Walt Disney World was your usual hang out spot. Some of those shows have so much more meaning to you and the magic you made. You tend to get a little teary eyed watching them when you visit. Even when your CP is over, the magic lives on in your soul.

16. Disney is not just a vacation spot to you, it’s your home.

You feel at ease here. You may have even found who you are and who you aspire to be here. It’s a special place to you that holds so much magic. Going back feels familiar. You never feel like an outsider here. Walt Disney World really is your home and it welcomes you right back every time you return.

17. People who know you before your College Program say you've changed.

You're more outspoken, you are confident in yourself and you carry on with pride. Not to mention your work ethic and customer service skills are outstanding. You believe in things and the people around you. You believe in magic and that's all thanks to the Disney College Program.

18. It was the best 4 months - 1 year of your life and you would do anything to relive just one more day of being a CP.

"While no one knows for sure what we'll see or do. I do know it will be quite an adventure, an adventure that we'll take and make together. See you in the future"- Spaceship Earth.

If you were given the opportunity to put on those extreme high-waisted polyester grandpa pants and that florescent shirt that was probably eight sizes too big for you— you’d do it in a heartbeat. Despite the long hours and blazing sun, sometimes your life felt like a dream. Your time spent working for the mouse will forever be your most magical days, as the Disney College Program was the best opportunity of your entire life.

Cover Image Credit: Dana Saccoccio

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Loraine: A Short Story

Could I be so broken? Could I have murdered her?

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Every breath is dense and calculated tonight. I exhale only when alleycats play their trashcan tunes or when the screech of tires skid by. If they are accompanied by sirens, however, I hold the musty air in as long as possible, until the wailing goes faint in the distance. The scattered beams of light being reflected off of shattered window panes keep startling me. My head tells me that it is just headlights sweeping by as they cascade down the road. Some part of myself still remains convinced that it's searchlights come to drag me away though.

Amid the dust and cracked asbestos tiles is the ever so slight smell of fresh bread. It's as if the abandoned and graffiti-covered concrete walls had once been infused with the scent to attract in customers. The old counter creates the perfect alcove for me to hide within. Intricate designs of cartoonish blue-frosted cakes and cherry-topped cupcakes are laser etched into it on either side of the words "Italiano Dolci." In its prime, the shop must have been quite the humble and quaint piece of Heaven, the kind of shops we used to enjoy in a past life. As for now, it may as well be a corpse left to decay under the sod.

The cuffs feel tight and heavy around my wrist. There is a jagged piece of steel that keeps embedding itself into my wrist, almost like someone had tried to smash them off in the past and only managed to shave off a piece of metal instead. I suppose bashing them on the cement won't work well for me either then. It would make too much of a cacophony anyway.

I know I won't be sleeping tonight. Hell, if I hadn't been sleeping last night I would have seen everything. Or was I sleeping at all? No, no I can't do this to myself. I can't start to doubt myself. I know it looks bad, I know. I cannot for the life of me remember getting home last night, I was drunk, genetic trends are against me, and all logic points to me being the ideal suspect. I couldn't have done it though. I don't have it in me, and besides, I harbored no hatred or resentment towards her. Just because I can't remember that doesn't mean I'm guilty. Does it? No, of course not. At least, I don't think.

I loved Loraine. I still do. She was — she is the only woman I will ever love. I remember back when we first started dating. We would go on long car rides to nowhere in particular on summer days. It was back when all I could afford was a crappy old station wagon. The check engine light was nearly always on and the wood paneling underneath the peeling forest green paint was scratched to oblivion. Even the windows had to be cranked down by hand and there was no air conditioning. We didn't care though. We'd just drive with the windows down until it felt right to stop. We would find little cafes or bakeries to sit in, nice ma and pa stores, where we were always treated like old friends by the gracious owners. They offered us coffees and cakes, all hand-ground and handmade, for pennies more than the chain shops. We always left sizable tips after inevitably asking which way to head to get back home.

Even days filled with lightning and wind gusts were a treat with her. I would joke and call them my "Rainey days." We would lay my old down feather comforter on the floor and stack up our pillows in a squishy heap against the bottom of the couch. We watched old reruns of our favorite shows and made-for-TV movies from our youth, then ordered Chinese food from our favorite local shop. I even proposed to her on one of those days. I hid the ring inside of a container of white rice and asked her to dish me out some. It wasn't anything extravagant or over the top, but it was charming. It matched her personality perfectly.

I admit that after the wedding, the heat between us did dissipate a little, but that wasn't either of our faults. We weren't kids fresh out of college anymore, we were adults with jobs and responsibilities. Sometimes that meant late nights, but nearly without fail each day it meant excess stress. The stress didn't come without reward, however. When we were able to spend weekends away. They were always full of simplistically elegant romance. We never wanted for anything, and if ever there was something that we passed by that she liked or I thought she should have, I had money enough in my pocket to pay for it. We even soon decided that we were ready for our family to get a little bigger. Two months later, she had a noticeable bump in her belly.

I surprised her one day when she got home from work. I was a sweaty mess with painted caked eyebrows and a sore big toe from dropping a full bucket of spackle on it. Her silly grin and slight giggle at my idiotic "Tah-dah!" made it all worthwhile though. I explained how I painted the room canary yellow because I wasn't sure if it was a boy or girl yet, and how I thought about going with olive green or burgundy but thought they weren't calming enough and were too aggressive for a nursery. She kissed me to shut my blabbering up, then scratched some dry paint off of my cheek while I blushed. It was like things were back to how they used to be again like we were kids again.

She went through the pain of delivery, the joy of seeing her newborn son, and then the slow horrible realization that the air was void of any crying. I watched it all, helpless to do anything but clench my fist, grind my teeth, and comfort her. We didn't speak to each other much after it happened. We were never quite the same. It wasn't like we didn't love each other anymore, it was more like we were too hurt to think about it and we just reminded each other too much of the pain.

We both had our own ways of coping. She threw herself into her work. There were no more weekend dates, no more late night romances, and many many more long nights. I truly do regret turning to whiskey for comfort. All the money I would have spent buying her gifts started going to that, and once I realized that she wouldn't be at home waiting for me after work anymore, I started going to the bars instead. I never stopped loving her though, not through any of it. When I saw her, she didn't look like a world-worn aging workaholic woman to me. She looked like the same radiant, young, and simplistically charming girl that I fell for. Some part of me will always remember her like that, the other part of me is cursed to picture the last time I saw her every time she crosses my mind.

I was out late during her last night. Worked wrapped up as usual around seven and, being a Friday night, I figured it was as good a time as any to get lost in a bottle of whiskey. Loraine usually didn't come home from work until about eleven, but I knew that on that night, in particular, she would be out even later. The thought of going home to an empty house was just too painful for us both I guess. I dropped the car off in front of the house and walked a few blocks up the road to the local liquor store.

I had become a regular there, and as soon as I walked in, the scruffy wrinkle-faced man behind the counter grabbed a bottle of Old Crow Kentucky Straight Bourbon for me. "Not tonight, Jay. I'm celebrating." I pulled out my wallet as I continued speaking. "Give me the Maker's Mark this time." He looked at me questioningly, not saying a word. I knew what he was wondering. I smirked slightly in a saddened way. "It would be my son's first birthday today."

He closed his eyes for a brief second and nodded gently before heavy-handedly pushing my wallet back toward me. "On the house." The smell of smoke attached itself to his three staccato words. It seemed as if the words lingered in the air a moment before rapidly falling to the ground. I smiled graciously, nodded, and left without either of us breaking the silence again.

I scrapped the blood red wax off with my keys and started drinking as I walked. By the time I got to Franklin Park, a fourth of the bottle was already gone. The park sits right on this hill overlooking the town, with our house directly in the middle. Loraine and I used to picnic there during the long summer days when we were engaged. What would become our house always stuck out to her. She would point it out from time to time, commenting on how it looked so full of life since it was in the center of everything. She said it was like the world revolved around it, and nothing else seemed to matter other than what was going on right there. None of it could ever draw her eyes the way the house could, she would say. It's funny, when we ended up buying it a month or two into our marriage, we found out it had been abandoned. After all that time that she spent describing metaphor after metaphor how full of life it was, it was really dead inside all along.

I downed the bottle over the course of my stay at the park. I just sat there, not numb but wishing to be, with my legs outstretched in front of me for hours. Occasionally, not thoughts of a child lost, no, but rather thoughts of how depressed and hollow she had gotten since would get to me. A tear would begin to well up as I thought of her fading vibrant and bright smile, which has been so far gone that I can scarcely remember the last time I saw it now. I'd close my eyes tight and take a big swig, then shake my head from side to side as if sadness could be shaken off like fleas. After I emptied the bottle, I vaguely remember getting overwhelmed by emotion. It's mostly a blur, but without more alcohol to calm me, I think I fell into a sobbing fit and at some point and shattered the bottle on a nearby bench. I have no memories of the rest of the night after that.

I woke up, my head between lain in a puddle of drool on the kitchen table next to my outstretched right arm. I rubbed my eyes and squinted to try and stop as much light as possible from contributing to my throbbing migraine. I called for her but got no answer. I called again, asking if we had any Tylenol, but again got no answer. I walked out into the living room, where she spent almost every Saturday morning now working from home on her laptop since the office itself was closed.

I saw a shoe sticking out from the side of the couch and, not expecting anything to be attached to it, went to pick it up. I dropped to my knees, unable to speak and trying desperately to shake her awake without even realizing it. Her face was swollen and bruised so that it looked as if she wouldn't be able to open her left eye. Her nightgown was ripped in parts and soaked in blood. I lifted her into my arms and sobbed loudly into her limp shoulder for a while before I was able to compose myself enough to make the call. I can't recall if there was any blood on me before I found her, but my shirt was soaked through by the time the police arrived.

Seventeen. They counted seventeen stab wounds to the torso. No signs of forced entry. No signs of a struggle, like she wasn't expecting it. No signs of sexual assault or missing cash and items. No one else in the house other than myself.

They didn't believe me. They didn't believe that the boy who would drive hours out of his way just to see her smile couldn't have done this. They left the door to the squad car open a crack after they cuffed me. Just a crack. They went back inside as forensics rolled up, making sure the crime scene was properly preserved and evidence collected according to protocol. I ran. I never turned around, just ran as if I could escape reality and wake up in bed next to her again if I was fast enough.

I don't know how they didn't see me. It was just like a street magician trick, they were all so focused on where all the action seemed to be that they completely missed what was happening right in front of them. I knew I couldn't go into any of the main streets. The blood-stained clothes and cuff bound hands would have surely alerted many bystanders whom, I have no doubt, would have alerted the authorities who were probably already on my trail. I stuck to alleyways as much as possible but had to make a few mad dashes across streets or over fences and through backyards at points. After what seemed like centuries of thoughtless escape, I came across an alley between a restaurant and a bank. I stopped a moment, breathing heavily but not seeming to take in any oxygen. As if one event triggered the other, sirens became audible as soon as my legs ceased to move. It could be that they were wailing all the while and that I had simply been too caught up in my pursuit of an alternate reality to notice until then. Nevertheless, it frightened me terribly.

I almost instinctively lifted the lid to the nearby dumpster and threw myself in, closing it behind me. I must have disturbed somethings lunch with my actions, because it wasn't long before I felt a scurrying up the length of my leg, across my chest, and under my arm. I couldn't see what it was because I was pulling down on the lid so hard for fear of it swinging open that only a small amount of light was able to seep in. I assume from the long tail that I felt rub against my cheek from time to time that it must have been a rat, but in all truthfulness, it didn't matter much to me at the time.

I rested my head on an old styrofoam takeout box, taking a moment to gather my thoughts. That was when reality started to sink in. I had to bury my face in mounds of rotting eggplant parmesan and tiramisu to muffle my sobs, which I tried to keep as silent as possible. First I wept for my lost love. I wept for the lost privilege of ever seeing her smile again. I wept for the lost nights spent with her in my arms. But all too quickly, I began to weep for the realization that I could have caused all of this.

Losing her seemed a fate more unbearable than that of Sisyphus and Tantalus. The notion that I could have been the cause of her demise caused something within me to snap. With tear stained cheeks, I felt a tail rub against my arm and grabbed out in its direction. I felt a scruffy mass in my hand which was soon accompanied by the sharp pierce of teeth between my thumb and pointer finger. I squeezed as hard as I could, continuing to cry as I did so, until the teeth ceased to penetrate any further into my hand, and something wet began to run down my fingers.

I let go of the heap, never feeling its presence again. I suddenly became very tired, as if I were in Oz traveling through the poppy fields with Dorothy. The styrofoam became my pillow as I drifted off. I dreamt in bursts of color and sounds that must have been from the previous night. A gray splatter as I heard my own staggering footsteps. A sudden white flash before fading to ocean blue as a door creaks open. I heard a voice, no, I heard her voice whimpering something about "down" and "relax." Maybe it was "just sit down and relax" or "just relax, put that down." Even in my heightened dream memory, it was hazy. After that, everything went black for a while. Eventually, from top to bottom, almost as if it were dripping in, the black became a deep scarlet and a horrid gurgling scream rang out.

It was enough to startle me awake. I was sweating profusely and for a moment forgot where I was. I cracked the cover open ever so slightly to find that the sky was dark and quiet now. I knew that I wouldn't be able to hide out in a dumpster forever, so I decided that perhaps under the cover of night I would be able to find a more comfortable a well-suited place to stay for a while.

I climbed out just as a homeless man was making his way by with a bag of empty bottles and cans. He stopped and looked at me with a scabbed over face and bloodshot eyes. For a moment I thought he would scream for help or run, but he barely seemed to notice me. He glanced at me once as he passed, not seeming to mind me much, before slumping over against the wall a few feet away. He put his head down and seemed to be trying to sleep, using the bottles as a bed. A glimmer of silver caught the light as his tattered jacket flopped open. It appeared he had a serrated knife in his jacket pocket. Judging by his apparent lack of teeth and overall appearance, I guessed that he was probably an addict of some sort, most likely crystal meth. He probably spent his days mugging the unsuspecting in these alleyways with that knife of his, but that was none of my concern at the moment.

I walked nervously for a ways, always keeping my head on a swivel, before coming to a building with a busted out back doorway and shattered windows. That is how I found this place. I thought about finding somewhere else since the doorway could easily be looked through, but decided that this was probably the best and safest shelter I would be able to find. I tipped an old table onto its side and decided to block the doorway partially with that. That was when I saw the counter and decided it was perfectly out of the line of sight of any windows.

The echoes of my dream are constantly ringing in my head. If only I could remember more of what she said or even the context in which she said it. I keep thinking back to the early days, the road trips, the thoughtless love, the perfection of her touch, and the "Rainey days" that we both cherished so much. Could we be so broken now that we could be driven to take up arms against each other? Could I be so broken? Could I have murdered her? I must say with the heaviest of hearts that I will never know. All I know is that things will forever be different now. Now I must live with the guilt of having killed her even if I did not. Now the once great eternal flame of her radiance has been reduced to scattered dying embers of her memory. Now every raindrop on the pavement screams her name and echoes my doubts of being that same love-struck and harmless boy that I once was.

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