When I was younger, I loved roller coaster rides. The anticipation as my car hitched into the gears and began to pull us upwards, I would hold my breath as I knew there was a free-fall coming. The pit of my stomach would begin flipping, my arms upward stretched and....whoosh the energy and moment were plummeting us downward as I would exhale in a scream!
Little did I know then that my life would be a continuous roller coaster. With just as many uphill journeys as there was gut wrenching free-falls. Now just the idea of mounting a roller coaster makes me queasy, I mean isn't real life enough?
The interesting similarities between life and roller coasters are not a new parallel, but it is a valid one. After all, a roller coaster harnesses the energy from the exhilarating free-fall to push us back up the next challenge. My issue, I don’t love the free-fall anymore. That rush I use to wait in line for over and over as a teenager has turned into dread and avoidance, not just towards roller coaster, but also swings, high dives, and apartment balconies. I know it is extreme, especially since I have resided in a few high-rises myself and have been told I am an adrenaline junkie.
So what changed you may ask? Well life. The free-falls seem to have gotten more frequent in the last 5 years or so and the uphill just gaining that much more altitude. It is as if life built me the most extreme roller coaster known to man. So how the heck do I get off this damn ride and back to It's a Small World or Pirates of the Caribbean? I don’t. What I do, do is exhale, and often. Life isn’t about getting off its wild ride. Life is about harnessing the energy that we are and the energy all around us. We are all energy, and I don’t know if I believe there is good energy or bad energy. I believe we harness the energy of our thoughts and if we allow, the thoughts and actions of others.
No one is perfect, least of all me. I am actually so far from it I wouldn't make the top 1 billion list. I am ok with that, I am learning, in a constant state of reinvention of myself. I have learned to harness the energy of the free-fall into the momentum of reinvention. I exhale the thoughts and energy I know doesn’t belong. I exhale the fears as my stomach hits my throat and before I know it I find myself laughing again as I did some 10...OK 20+ years ago. The lesson in the roller coaster parable isn’t to get off or to stay on, but to use the energy of the ride, exhale through your fears and always laugh. Remember no one rides the roller coaster alone.