I hate roller coasters. Never liked them, in fact. But in the course of my life, I have had the displeasure of riding a few, so I the images are permanently burned into my memory like a bumper sticker that won’t come off. And I don’t know what part is the worst…the sudden, life altering drop from the top…or the slow, steady click, click, click leading us to that inevitable fall. For me, the panic attack starts from the moment I am strapped into my seat.
More recently, I’ve come to hate the ride more so because of the uncanny parallel between roller coasters and life.
And my life seems too much like a roller coaster lately—flying around the sharp corners at a blinding pace, my hair blowing wildly in the wind it creates, heading for the gradual climb and the click, click, click signaling the journey to that sudden plunge over the edge.
I feel the anxiety—squirming like a living creature inside my gut…burning like a lit match under my skin—just knowing its coming. I can maneuver the scary turns—even the dangerous pitch as I careen around them—but I can’t stop thinking about what’s right around the corner. Even thinking about it brings about the feelings of dread. And all of life is basically that measured climb to the top of the hill, and then falling over it at a dizzying speed as if it’s a race to the bottom.
My fear of heights could find its way into this metaphor on life. But I’m not sure if it’s really the heights I’m afraid of, or rather, falling from them, and that would put it at the foundation of all of my phobias. It just makes sense that if you have a fear of falling, your fear would be multiplied by falling from high places. I fall off my own feet quite regularly, and although I don’t like it, I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of it.
I have dreams sometimes about falling from high places—speeding around a dark corner at night, trees in the wash of my headlights, and then the road disappears and I’m free falling over the edge into the dark abyss.
I always wake up before the sudden stop.
So how do we get off this roller coaster called life without ending the ride too soon? Can’t I just trade my ticket for a nice leisurely boat ride? One that doesn’t end up going through a patch of angry rapids on the way to a cascading waterfall as hungry dinosaurs try to eat me from the sidelines?
I guess not.
Maybe I just need to give a yank on my seatbelt and get comfy. I intend on being here for a nice long ride…like it or not…and I’m not about to miss a single turn along the way. It’s probably a good thing I don’t throw up too easily.
Until the next time…light meals and frequent bathroom breaks for me for a while!