Imagine getting on a rollercoaster that you were told was going to take you on the ride of your life. As you get buckled in, the excitement mounts. The adrenaline starts rushing through you as you hear the safety instructions being announced over the loud speaker. The person sitting next to you grabs onto your arm in anticipation and nervousness. Next you thing you know, the brakes are released, the wheels start turning and the amazing rollercoaster ride is officially underway.
Now… How would you feel about the experience if the rollercoaster just went straight, slow and steady the whole time? No big hills or dips, no twists and turns, no bumps and bounces, no loop de loops, just predictably straight ahead from start to finish. You’d probably say that the ride sucked and that all the hype was unjustified.
And yet when it comes to life, we complain and conclude that something is wrong when relationships get a little bumpy, when the path we are on takes unexpected twists and turns, when our emotions go up and down, when our dreams bounce us around and go loop de loop. We strive and struggle for perfection and permanence and when life presents challenges and changes, we believe that we are lost or failing.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Well there’s a big difference between what we want out of life and a rollercoaster!” Is there really? Would you really enjoy a life experience that was always the same, never changing, never challenging you, never pushing you out of your comfort zone? Isn’t that the thrill of living? Isn’t that how we expand and grow? And isn’t that why we go on rides in the first place? To feel the rush of being alive? To have an EXPERIENCE that we’ve never had before?
I’m learning that life isn’t about reaching some arrival point or final destination. We all know where we’re gonna end up and there’s no rush to get there. What it’s really all about is having an amazing experience while we’re here. One that’s expansive, that ebbs and flows, that pushes and pulls us, that challenges us and causes us to feel things we’ve never felt before. Yes, life is about the climb to the top of that hill and the “weeeeeeeeeee” with our arms up over our head on the way down. It’s about loving with everything we have and not holding anything back. It’s about expressing our creativity and our talents fully, and leaving it all out on the stage or the field. It’s about stepping out of our comfort zone and into the unknown over and over again.
So if it feels like life’s kicking you in the ass sometimes or like things aren’t going the way you planned or expected, consider the possibility that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be and that this is what life looks like when it’s working. Say thank you for the experience and remind yourself that life would be boring and empty if there weren’t the challenges and the lessons that come along with them. Instead of resisting the ride, embrace it and acknowledge the gift of uncertainty, of the unknown, of new experiences.
Life is a rollercoaster and we wouldn’t want it any other way. When it’s over, we won’t want to get off the ride and we’ll be begging to take the ride one more time. So maybe you’re on your way up the hill right now and the big dip is coming. Hang in there, stay the course and keep your faith. Before you know it, it will be your time to throw your arms up over your head and say “weeeeeeeeeeeeeee”!
Written for The Daily Love (July 21st, 2012)