“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.” -Helen Keller
The other day my boyfriend and I went to Disneyland, as we often do, since we’re annual pass holders.
Though my younger self would be ashamed to foresee this about adult me, I generally avoid rides with intense drops, because I have the stomach of a 90-year old. Yet somehow, the other day, I found myself in line for a roller coaster ride.
During the wait, I kept a laser focus on the part of the coaster that climbed to an inevitable plummet, completely dulling my other senses while I considered backing out. Once I buckled myself in, I felt that familiar sense of queasiness as I awaited the impending plunge.
Suddenly I realized that the ride itself caused mere seconds of discomfort; far more unsettling was the anticipation that I allowed to consume my thoughts. This unnecessary stress seemed even more ridiculous when I realized I was on a kiddie coaster, and the “drop” was really no scarier than skipping down a ramp.
Isn’t this often how it works? We challenge ourselves to do things to push outside our comfort zones, then along the way we question if it would have been smarter to play it safe.
If we get all worked up, we generally realize later it wasn’t as scary as we thought it would be. And if it was, stressing likely didn’t do much to shape the future; it just created a sense of tension that limited our ability to deal with it gracefully.
Everywhere we look, we see messages that tell us to take a chance and do the things that terrify us. We generally feel alive and invigorated when we stretch our boundaries, even if just a little. But the reality is we never have to do things we don’t want to do.
We choose them because we want them. Underneath all our fear and that nagging need to maintain a sense of control, we want to dip, drop, and soar. If we can remember that, it will be a lot easier to relax and enjoy the ride.
Photo with permission from laineybugger