Those hours upon hours of watching Disney cartoons as a child taught me a lot.Â
I know the importance of contentment. I know what happens when someone wants more and more power, more and more money, and more and more landâ€¦ they become the bad guy with their own scary theme song and they end up getting featured at Disneyland’s Halloween show. Oh yeah, they also end up either trapped inside a magic lamp or turning all shrivelly and seaweed-ish. If they’re REALLY greedy, they get thrown off a cliff or the roof of a castle.Â So yes, IÂ know that you’re supposed to be content and happy wearing the same princess dress every day and wandering around singing in nature with happy little creatures all around you without any conflict, goals, or cares in the world.Â Life doesn’t get any better than that right?
Well have you ever seen the “modern fairy tales that people write nowadays?Â
Sometimes Cinderella is slaving away for her 401K instead of for an evil stepmother, sometimes the 7 dwarfs never meet Snow White because there was a cave in at the mine, and sometimes Aladdin gets shot up in the ghetto before making it to the palace where Jasmine is.Â I think the moral of those stories is that being content with your position in life as the pretty girl who wanders around singing is not always the best way to go. Some of the more modern Disney movies even, have Princesses who seek adventure, do the courageous thing, and strive for more out of life.Â The moral of modern fairy tales and modern Disney: Sometimes it’s OK to push harder and fight to improve the quality of life for yourself and those around you.
(Just for fun, here are some photos from the “Fallen Princess” photo series by Dina Goldstein)
So there’s the balance.Â
Don’t become a greedy bad guy (or else the animators will make you ugly and you will face ultimate doom… except for your once a year appearance at Disneyland) and don’t become satisfied with a sucky, boring life (because there’s very little chance that your fairy godmother or magic genie is coming to save you).
That’s the lesson we learn from animated Disney characters: if you balance contentment with hard work and persistence then you will live happily ever after. The End.