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Is Your Life A Roller Coaster?

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When I was a young child, roller coasters did not thrill me, they scared me. They went fast, moved quickly from side to side and had large ups and downs. Then I got older….

I loved the idea of getting on something in which I had no idea how I would feel but with eager anticipation, I was in line to experience this ride. I was not even sure why I liked the thrill of the ride or that feeling in my stomach when the roller coaster moved to the top of the large hill. This was usually in the first part of the ride and it was meant to build up speed. I felt the churning and a tightness in my stomach as this car slowly creeped to the top. I knew that when it reached the top it would do one of two things, it would sharply go into a deep dive down or would jerk abruptly to the left or right and start its way down. Either way it went, I knew the pace was about to change dramatically in my ride and the change would bring up a number of other reactions in my body. My breathing would get rapid…sometimes I would forget to breath until the need for breath outweighed my need to keep everything tight for this rush of movement. Well, down we would go till we usually hit a violent turn left or right and then the bank turns which defied gravity. Eventually I went on roller coaster rides where my feet dangled and my body was just whip sawed around …sometimes upside down. This was the culmination of my roller coaster experiences and the conquering of all my fears . This last type of coaster came after I prepared with a standing roller coaster which allowed you to see all things in front of your better-the track, other people’s heads and arms which were getting whipped around . It was a full immersion experience in movement and action. I changed from being in the middle of the roller coaster toward the back to being in the first car so I could experience all the wind in my face. It was frightening and exhilarating all at the once.

Life is a Roller Coaster- Ride It!

white and yellow roller coaster
Photo by Min An on

I started to think about my roller-coastering and my quest for another ride and asked myself, why I enjoyed the experience so much. The answer I came up with is that the roller coaster was a microcosm of my life experiences. Where else do you get the opportunity to experience so many emotions and experiences in life in 120 seconds?

Right from the beginning, you have the anticipation that comes from things that are happening in your life. There are build-ups to events whether this is a big exam at school, a multi-faceted presentation of a project at work or watching your children growing and experiencing all of these minor moments that become major moments.

Life has been described as many things but not static, it is dynamic and anyone that has given this any thought realizes, things will happen to you. Life is full of those ups and downs-high points and low points. There are twists and turns you can not anticipate. There will be good things, bad things, good things that start out being bad but turn good and bad things that start our being good and turn bad. There are as many life experiences as there are stars in the sky.

photography of night sky
Photo by Juan on

What is coming next?

The anticipation of that first move toward speed grips you and you feel yourself hang onto the bar a little tighter. Then you watch as people in the cars in front of you go over the top, raise their hands up (some of them) for a greater rush and the speed begins. You lean into the turns as in life you sometimes have to lean into your fears. The more you move toward your fears, the less effect it has on your emotions. That is why you hear people say to face life unafraid and with anticipation of what is coming next. You may let out a scream which releases some of that tension on the ride. In life, sometimes you have to let our that same scream or at least breath into it. Take those 5 deep breaths before you say or do something you might regret. Release the anger. When we experience what is called an Amygdala Hijack. we become white hot and we are not thinking straight. It takes some deep breathing to recover from this Amygdala Hijack. Sometimes I can recover from it quickly and other times, I find myself saying or doing something that I regret later since it was done in a fit of anger. On a roller coaster, you can always scream or make a funny sound or exhale and no one is hurt by this. In life, this scream or funny sound can have lasting negative effects on others and leaves you with regret.

After all the twists and turns of the roller coaster, you come into the terminal with a bit of relief and you are spent physically and emotionally. Your legs are weak and maybe your arms are tired because you were holding on so tightly. When we have major life experiences , we can feel the same way and we need to decompress and allow our bodies to recover from the stress. We can do this by taking full vacations to recharge our batteries or we can take mini vacations like doing that workout, riding that bike, taking that jog , baking ,reading or any other activity that helps you recover from the ride.

silhouette photography of group of people jumping during golden time
Photo by Belle Co on

Finally, like your roller coaster ride, life can be brief or feel like it is. You are in school and you blink and you are in your career and perhaps starting your family, you blink and you are looking at life in the last quarter or as some have described , the last act of your play. Like the roller coaster ride, you may wish it would continue but then the ride is over.

Live your life as you might, that roller coaster ride. Experience every emotion…all the colors, sounds and emotions fully. Be present and ….Enjoy the ride! See you on the next coaster. More From Oars Forward¬†

I wish you all Good Coaching!


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