I’ve been venturing out more. Shaking off the blanket that protected me from a non-existent winter and exploring more. I’ve been photographing my exploits and taking in the new experiences. I became far too dormant, too much time waiting for something else to happen, that life passed by me with a quickness that took my breath away. It’s June already and I can’t fathom how I lost Spring.
This last weekend I went to an amusement park. Quite amusing for me, considering I’ve never been one to enjoy baking in the hot sun while riding nausea inducing rides and roller coasters. Yet, I decided to give it a try, to at least convince myself that I’m not lingering in middle age-dom. Before we arrived, I swore off any roller coasters. I shook my head and stamped my foot and declared I would not ever, and I mean ever, get on one. What’s the point? To be scared? I’ve lived a life, I don’t need more things to scare me.
But there I was, and for some reason I felt braver. I felt empowered. I stood in a line for a roller coaster, a real wooden one, and I let them strap me into the demon contraption. I took a deep breath and then closed my eyes as panic set in. Before I could even scream, I was thrust forward at a break neck speed and felt every bump and turn as my body bounced in my seat. I was riding a roller coaster. Not happily. Not really enjoying it. But I was doing it.
Then came another, decidedly less exciting, but still a roller coaster and this time I opened my eyes. I saw the track before me and I felt the wind on my face and felt the flutter in my stomach and I laughed. It was not of pure joy. Being that terrified of speed prevented that emotion, but it was relief. Relief that there was this deep fear I had held inside and in a moment I had tossed it in yesterday’s neurotic trash. I was afraid, but I did it anyway.
I stood in line three more times for rides that terrified me. I enjoyed them as best I could. The last roller coaster had me trembling so hard my teeth chattered. But I was proud of myself. I had done something I never thought I would do. I laughed my way through all of them. Probably to keep from shrieking in terror or crying. I had left my comfort zone and discovered, much to my amazement, I could return to it relatively unscathed.
I know there’s all sorts of metaphors for this sort of thing. I know there’s something profound in a moment such as this. But I decided not to over analyze it. Just in that one day, at that one time, I ventured into the scary forest. Maybe if I return to the same theme park I will stick with bumper cars. I don’t believe I need to be frightened into realizing life is worth living and enjoying. But it’s nice to be reminded that fears are meant to be conquered.
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