Screaming louder than is ever necessary, stretching voices past their limits. Eyes open, hands tight, feet clamped around purses and the bags of popcorn, all threatening to fall out. After the fall, after the g-forces at the bottom of the dip make the air feel heavy with relief and they take the first inhale in about ten seconds and the car erupts with laughs and quick shouts, giggling girls and boys pretending to almost fall out. The thrill of the climb, the fear of the fall.

The high point, literally and figuratively, happens and is over in less than a minute. The rest is spent in either building excitement, before, or in recovery, after.

The thrill of the climb, the fear of the fall. The higher you go, the scarier it gets.

I thought of this analogy at an amusement park once, where the coaster dropped down and then seemed to try to wind its way back up to the top: It made me think of someone who may have “peaked in high school.” One good thing early on, and then nothing of note afterward

I hate that phrase, by the way. “Peaked in high school.” As if you only have one peak, and must use it wisely. Please.

The shape of your life’s roller coaster may vary. You may have a few peaks. You may have a huge rise—and a hard fall. You may have a few loop-de-loops, though I’m not sure how those fit in the metaphor.

The roller coaster doesn’t give up. We only think it peaks once because we stop watching after we ride it, but it never stops. It peaks over and over again, day in and day out. It keeps going, and going, until it literally breaks down. That’s not good either…you need to know when to break.

So if we shouldn’t view life as one ride of a roller coaster, and shouldn’t view day to day life as an endless cycle of hard effort until we break down…what am I getting at here?

The thing with a roller coaster is that you give up control. You let the cart go where it was designed to, where it was “meant” to go.” You follow the track.

My suggestion is that we should view life like riding a roller coaster that we design as we ride. If we put in the effort, we can make as many peaks as we like. If we need time to relax, we can have a bit of down time.  The tip is to listen to yourself, as the rider, and then respond, as the designer. Listen to yourself—are you ready for a break? Are you ready for a loop? Are you ready for a peak, or are you too afraid of falling?

Listen to yourself, you know? Introverts, we often only have ourselves. We know ourselves best, don’t we? Sometimes only we know what we need—especially when we try to hide those needs.

Don’t let someone else design your coasters. Only you know what you need.



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