Photo by: Jen Redmon

Roller Coasters, Risks, And Getting On The Ride

Photo by: Jen Redmon

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 mind serving as the human coat rack that holds their bags, phones, and ball caps while they race from one ride to the next. The long lines and crowds don’t bother me much and I’m actually quite entertained by the endless hours of people watching while I stand around. It would actually feel like a fun day for me if it weren’t for one little thing….

The coaster camera that snaps the shot.

You know the one that is taken at the highest peak of excitement on the ride?

My husband is a huge fan of them and so it’s a rare occasion when at least one is not purchased in an effort to memorialize the moment. And who can blame him? The expressions of thrill and terror are priceless, and we’ve had some doozies captured of our family. 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 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.

Jen lives in Maryland with her husband, practically pre-teen children, and narcissistic dog named Nitro. When she’s not with family or teaching middle school students, she likes to go for long runs to work out the crazy and grab coffee with women who have no desire to pretend that their lives are perfect. You can find her writing about her attempts to courageously live out her everyday callings at Brave Guinevere. You can also connect with Jen on Facebook and Instagram.

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