“Life is a crazy roller coaster ride”. We can all agree that we have heard this a few thousand times in our lives. And don’t get me wrong, I love the saying. It hits all of the points, gives you a visual and evokes a feeling all in one breath. But how often do we really look at the deeper meanings behind those “go-to” comparisons? For me, it wasn’t until last night, when I used that roller coaster scenario in a discussion about my soon-to-be life changer (ya know the whole having a baby thing). And I have to say, whoever came up with this little diddy was spot-on.
So the way that my brain works, it is like a motion picture is being edited at all times. I am speaking and holding my own in conversations, all the while I am assigning images to parts of the conversation, that I then string together into a story when I reflect back, and that’s how I sink deeper into it. That is my process, that is how I write, and until I just wrote that down, I’m not sure that I was even aware of it. But I digress, so last night as I was laying in bed and I could not get this image of waiting in line for a roller coaster out of my head, and then sentences started popping up, and things started to make sense. I was getting a clearer understanding of what I was trying to say when I was referencing the “life is a roller coaster” moment earlier that night. So I sat up, grabbed my phone and started to type, and it just poured out of me. So here it goes…
At one point, we are all in the same position in life, standing in the back of the line, waiting for our turn on the roller coaster, stretching our necks to see exactly what it is we are volunteering ourselves for. If we are lucky, we have a solid group of people who have agreed to hop on this thing with us, and go along for the ride. At first, it seems like this line is going to last forever. You can’t even see the front, you are most likely getting hungry, and you talk about just hopping on the merry-go-round where the line is short and manageable, but you don’t. You have already invested “x” amount of time, and whenever you hear those far away cries of excitement from the people experiencing the first big drop, you know it will be worth it in the end. So you wait it out, you hold conversations with the people you know, and the closer you get to the front of the line, you may even open up to those you have been standing next to and ignoring this whole time. Then the time comes to pick which secondary line you are going to commit to. Do you want to ride in the way back, the middle, or front row? Oh god, this is a big commitment. The middle is the quickest route, the back seems pretty cool, but front row is always going to have the most draw, coupled with the longest line. Eventually you decide to commit to front row, and the excitement level has sky-rocketed. Your internal dialogue has turned into a solid pep-talk, “dude you are so brave, oh my god this is going to be so exciting, awww yeah so worth it!…” And then you are right there. You are next in line… “wait a second, where are my friends that I started out with? Oh ok, there they are, but there can only be one person next to me, I mean I knew that all along but suddenly I want everyone to experience this with me at the exact same moment, so that I am not alone..”
The brakes suddenly seem to be screaming when the ride pulls into the loading station, and you are pretty sure you heard someone talking about how someone fell off of this ride last week. This is way too intense. But then you look up and you see the batch of people who just got done. Their hair is a mess, their faces are bright red, but they are alive, really truly alive. Their legs are swinging with child-like excitement, they are straining their necks to share their stories and smiles with the person strapped in next to them, and they are already talking about getting on again. So you use that energy and you muster the courage to walk on that platform and take a seat in the front row of this roller coaster. Now comes the most important decision, and that is how you want to experience the ride. Because the truth is, that the track is already put together, you don’t have any control over when you will hit the top speed, or the stomach turning loops, but you can decide whether or not you surrender to it.
You can let the fear of the unknown take full control, tense up, close your eyes, and wish it was over. And that’s your choice, but I can promise you that you will most likely walk away with a stiff neck and regret. But if you decide to stay fully present with what is happening, you will not only be able to prepare for those twists and turns, but you will have a story to tell when it is all said and done. Because who knows if you will get another chance to hop on this ride before the park shuts down. You might as well get your moneys worth while you are here.
Now I know that from a life perspective, you could say I am still standing in line, waiting for my turn, and all of this is much easier said than done. So instead of telling you how you should feel about your personal experience, I want to ask a favor of you, before I get strapped in. What I am asking for from those of you who will be riding alongside of me; is if you see me tensing up, closing my eyes, and wishing this scary part was over, don’t hesitate to grab my hand and wake me up. Please, share your exciting perspective with me. Because at the end of the day, I want to swap stories with you, and I want mine to be worth telling– flips, drops, twists and turns, I want to feel it all. So here goes nothing, I am stepping on the platform, about to take my seat on what is going to be the best ride of my life, and I can’t f’ing wait!!