wife. mother. teacher. recovering scaredy cat
I love everything about roller coasters. I love the soaring heights and the plunging depths, the terrifying twists and turns, the shrilling screams of the riders in free fall. My husband and kids love them, too. So much, in fact, that we almost always find ourselves at a theme park or boardwalk at least once every summer. There is, however, one problem….
I don't mesh well with metal contraptions.
My aversion to these death defying doohickeys is not mental, it’s physical. Simply put, I get motion sickness. Despite my best attempts to defy the laws of inertia, I wobble away feeling washed out and woozy. As a result, I have learned that life is better with my feet placed firmly on the ground, smiling bravely as my family spends their day in orbit above me. I don't even mind serving as the human coat rack that holds their bags, phones, and ball caps while they race from one ride to the next. And I'm always excited to see what shows up on the coaster camera that snaps the shot.
My husband is a huge fan of capturing the chaos so it's a rare occasion when at least one is not purchased to memorialize the moment. And who can blame him? The expressions of thrill and terror are priceless, and we've had some doozies over the years. Earlier this summer, while gathering around to admire a purchased print, I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculous faces that were made. I also couldn't overlook the evidence that was right there in living color....
I wasn't on the ride.
Obviously, my family knows that my absence from the collection of coaster pics is for good reason. They understand that I've calculated the risks enough times to know that a regretful regurgitation outweighs the risk of sky high adventure. But what about the rest of my life? If the moments of life's possibilities were all captured on camera, how many times would I be missing from the frame? What other opportunities and #blessings have I missed out on because I didn't get on the ride? How often have I looked at a situation and thought that the possible regret was easier to live with than the actual risk itself?
What if something goes wrong? What if it's just too terrifying? What if it ends in disaster?
I'm not talking about reckless living or unwise choices. I'm talking about the things in life that I choose to be absent from because the challenge seems too great, the outcome isn't known, or the cost is too high. I'm referring to the kind of mindset that keeps me from new adventures because I'm too afraid, I don't want to be inconvenienced, or I'm too worried about what others will think if I fail. That kind of thinking makes me want to back away rather than climb on board. It's a false sense of security that keeps me living small, watching and waving as the world flies by.
There's no denying the one thing in common among all of our coaster pics; some might love the thrill while others are clearly terrified, but at least they strapped themselves in. I don't want to look back on the snapshots of my life and regret the risks that I didn't take.
Hands in the air or white knuckling all the way, I want to be on the ride.