Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Drop of Doom or Life is Like That

Uh huh, sometimes life is like a wicked roller coaster ride.  I call it the real "Great Adventure".  I always hated those things,  roller coasters, that is.
Basically, I suspect that most would describe riding a roller coaster by saying things like, " was so scary",  "my stomach dropped", "my heart stopped",  "I thought I was going to die." These phrases are always, always, though,  followed by "let's do that again!"
That last one, the one about doing it again,  baffles me the most, about those who ride roller coasters, that is.
According to a press release put out by Great Adventure:
"If you plan on visiting New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure next year, be sure to bring a sturdy stomach. The amusement park known for hosting some of the world’s most intense roller coasters is adding a new one to the mix -- and it’s determined to take your breath away. And possibly your lunch. Rising 415 feet in the sky -- that’s taller than the Statue of Liberty -- the free fall nightmare Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom will become the tallest tower-drop ride in the world when it opens in 2014. The former champ, Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom at Six Flags Magic Mountain outside of Los Angeles, tops out at a ‘mere’ 400 feet.

I'm sure those "lets do that again" folks will wait in line for hours to experience the briefest few moments of  breath taking, lunch losing, heart stopping, doom dropping thrills.

There are similarities and differences between the real "Great Adventure"(GA) and rides such as Drop of Doom (DOD).
 As you stand in that endless line, waiting to get on DOD,  you are forewarned about the trip you are about to take.  It’s obviously apparent, as you listen to the blood curdling screams from those who came before you, that you are most likely going to be scared witless.  Yet, when it’s your turn you willingly and with heightened anticipation, strap in.
GA is a lot like that, too.  Those who have been on that ride a lot longer than you, are sure to advise, sometimes warn, and most likely are always right, about when to hold on, when to let go or when to lean in.
It’s most important for me to digress a little here.  I recently revisited a post I wrote called Uncovering Her Wings.   For some reason, unknown to me now, I do recall purposely writing it in a cryptic manner.
I do remember that the inspiration for the post was the butterfly.  I spotted this creature in our back yard.  She seemed to be stuck in a gob of mud.  What struck me the most was how large her wings were compared to the rest of her body.  That made me curious enough to wonder how it was that the very things, that is her wings, which made her beautiful and free seemed to be the very burden which kept her down as she struggled to free herself from the mud.
Today, though, after I re-read what I wrote in that post, the words made absolutely no sense to me.    At the time I’m sure I thought  it was oh so clever, poetic even, to be obviously reticent.
I took this detour away from my roller coaster/life analogy in order to reference the Uncovering... post for two reasons. First, I had a good laugh at myself.  Second, I learned that if I ever want to come back to any of my future posts I need to make myself perfectly clear, particularly to myself.
So back to the Life is a Roller Coaster ride.
When I reflect back on my life I realize that I have been a timid passenger for most of the ride.  I almost never let go of the safety bar.
I learned at an early age from those who had been on this ride much longer than I at the time, that the peaceful ascent is sure to be followed by speed bumps and extreme drops.   “Don’t get too comfortable there at the top,” they would say.
I was reminded of this the other day.  I was visiting Jen and our new baby, Jackson.  The weather was gorgeous.  We decided to take Jax for a stroll.  On our way walking down the street,  a car pulled up and then slowed down.  I glanced over and at first I didn’t recognize the driver.  I was a little apprehensive until I realized that it was my son, Jimmy.  I had not seen him for quite awhile and I was beyond thrilled.
As we all visited, I found myself enjoying the moment.  The sun was warm, the baby was peaceful.  Jen and Jimmy were smiling and joking with each other.  I bathed in the joy of just being.
And I wished I could stop the ride right there forever.  At the very top.  Where I could see everything so clearly.
However, that’s not how roller coasters or life works.  Neither ever stay still and each only stop briefly at the top, where you can see forever.
I'm probably too old now and have been through too many plunges lately.  So, it's most likely that I may never learn to let go of the bar, lift my arms up in the air and scream.
But listen, Bella and Ryan, Kenny and Ty, Domani and Jax, as you navigate your way on your Great Adventure, remember you only get one ticket, and it's good for one ride only.
That's the way to ride that ride.

I am reading a book right now called “A Walk In The Dark” by Gianrico Carofiglio.  This quote from one of the first chapters was so very meaningful to me:
"I thought, just for a second, how much I’d like to throw myself into the empty sky, from a plane or somewhere else very high up.  Into the empty sky.  Without being afraid”.

Another One of Those Moments

I spotted these beautiful creatures hanging out in the marshes on Barnegat Bay.  I caught them in the midst of speed dating :)

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