“Treat. Yo. Self.”

I just finished Parks and Recreation. I did not binge watch it because I only watched episodes with Corey. There was a concept on the show called Treat Yo Self. Two characters, Tom and Donna, would occasionally have an extravagant outing. Both the characters were very materialistic, but they practiced a concept that more people should enjoy. The occasional expensive or overly adventurous outing is really good for the soul. It is outside expectations and outside the norm of everyday routines. I would like to clarify the word “expensive” and the concept of “overly adventurous” is really subjective and varies from person to person.

Corey and I definitely took a “treat yo self” trip last summer after my graduation. The trip was very much outside of our normal vacation budget, but with a little help from the family and saving, we were able to go on an insanely awesome adventure. I would need more than a blog post to describe the entire vacation, but I share a story about our VIP adventure at Universal Studios.

A lot of people visit Universal Studios the two-hour long lines are a testament to the number of daily visitors. However, there are less daily VIP visitors. Mostly because VIP tickets are ridiculously expensive. We paid $700 for one day, and that did not include the entrance fee, talk about “treat yo self.” The VIP experience included breakfast, lunch and drinks for the afternoon. We also had a tour guide, and we did not have to wait in any lines for the attractions. We also got to choose our seats on the rides, and let’s face it we always wanted to sit in the front.

That was our tour guide.

The night before our VIP tour guide adventure, we made the mistake of watching a South Park episode that made fun of tour guides. We were mildly nervous we would be paired up with a family that had several young children, which would require more time in kiddie parks. We were also concerned about being in a large group or with a group of elders, because dang it we wanted to basically zoom through the park and get the most out of the seven hours that we possibly could. We also feared being in a group with individuals who were vehemently opposed to Harry Potter. Luckily, we were pleasantly surprised to be paired up a couple a little older than us, who had similar interests.

We walked through back allies, down deserted paths and we briefly peered over a fence at a television production. Our tour guide pointed out little fascinating details we would have otherwise never seen, and he prioritized the different parts of the park based on our personal preferences. In other words, we spent like five minutes in the Dr. Seuss Kiddie Land and nearly three hours in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

We zoomed to the front of every line, and I enjoyed passing everyone who was standing in line for at least an hour. I truly felt like a VIP, and it was awesome. We ate at the Harry Potter themed lunch and treats.

We went to Ollivanders to participate in a small group wand picking presentation. The actor always chooses a person out of the group to participate, and for whatever reason he chose me. Probably because I was making direct eye contact with him and my eyes were saying, “Pick me!”

He told me, “the wand always chooses the wizard” and the Harry Potter theme music started and the room lit up, and he said, “The Ivy Wand, for a strong, determined, resilient wizard. This is an excellent wand for protection and healing.” Man, he was a good salesman.

Corey and I enjoyed delicious butter beer, and we rode too many rides to count. We also rode the Harry Potter 9 and 3/4 train twice, and we enjoyed a dozen other attractions.

We had our tour guide for seven hours, and he could lead us through back doors straight to where we really wanted to go. We spent another five hours enjoying the park, and our VIP passes doubled as a fast pass. A lot of people had a fast pass, so it was just more like “a little bit faster than the normal line, which is really super long” pass, but the actual name would be a little too wordy.

That day was incredibly exhausting considering I walk 30,451 steps, but so much fun. We really went above and beyond for our adventure, and honestly, I think Universal Studios should always be visited with a VIP pass. I couldn’t imagine the adventure any other way.

The concept of “treat yo self” should be incorporated after major accomplishments or seasons of long, exhaustive work because we all eventually get weighed down by the hard work in life. Even God took a day of rest from hard work.

I think the “treat yo self” adventures help us to maintain a fast pace when striving to achieve specific goals. When we take the time to operate outside of the routine of life, we become more aware of our “aliveness” and more aware of what time means.

Routines are necessary to achieve goals. Sometimes we have to do the same thing over and over again to reach a destination, but when that destination arrives, maybe it is time to celebrate, relax and truly just enjoy something pleasurable. Also, it doesn’t have to be materialistic in nature like Donna and Tom’s “treat yo self” days, it just has to be refreshing.

Our next “treat yo self” adventure will probably be in a year or two.

P.S. if you read yesterday’s post here is a picture after we ran through Bush Gardens. I looked everywhere for it.

My pop filter finally arrived. Now, I have a lot of recording to accomplish.

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