I haven’t been on a legitimate rollercoaster in…well, it’s been years now, I think. But as a kid, I loved them! Something about the excitement, anticipation and thrill was very enjoyable to me. I’ve been thinking this year a lot about balance in my life. So much is said about balance. How do we balance all the different aspects of our life so that we don’t feel like one area is lacking too much or one is attracting too much attention? This year has been an interesting one for me, as in my own life, a lot of what I have done has been very much my choice. In the past several years, my schedule was dictated by babies, a class syllabus, demanding internship or work hours. This year, much of my schedule became my own choice as my schooling ended, any work I did was on a flexible schedule and babies have grown up.
Life is much like a rollercoaster ride, am I right? You get on, a little uncertain of what’s to come ( for me it’s been. college, marriage, babies, graduate school, moving to a new city, new jobs, maintaining a home, etc), you head up the hill, working, working, working. You reach the top of the hill and you breath a little at a break and then all of a sudden you’re rushed into the next thing suddenly feeling like you’re barely hanging on and just making it through the day. Then, you reach the bottom and once again everything feels a little calm. Then you might hit a really rough patch (you know those parts of a roller coaster that go around and around, tighter and tighter and you can feel gravity closing in on you). You wonder if it’s going to stop soon, then it does and once again you breathe. This all repeats itself a few times and then you pull to a stop and get off the ride. Except I’ve learned that in life you never really get off the ride.
That has been a struggle at times for me, especially in this season of life, where so much is unpredictable. Sleep patterns, moods, eating habits, even my address. It’s hard to know if I’m talking about my babies or me here. I find myself trying a new behavior strategy with my kids, or maybe a new approach to chores. Even a new “morning routine” for myself. For a couple of days, it would go smooth as silk. Then chaos returns on the third or fourth day. For months this year it has felt like the unpredictability was wearing at me.
Personally, I am a person of order. I enjoy routine, predictability and not a whole lot of change on a day to day basis. Girl with the color coded planner and categorized to-do lists? That’s me! This uncertainty of what lay before me each day often left me frustrated and wondering if things would ever settle down.
As I tried to think about my reaction to this unpredictability, I found myself thinking about my approach to riding a rollercoaster as a child. I was excited. It was highly anticipated! I loved the experience and got off wanting to go again! The more I see life as a rollercoaster, the more I realize, I have to approach life with the same enthusiasm. I have to look forward to that unpredictability. I have to anticipate it and I have to enjoy the experience as much as I can while it’s happening or I get that feeling like I am on a rollercoaster spinning towards the ground and gravity is pulling me harder and harder.
Because like so many people I pass at the grocery store tell me, “It goes so fast”. Just like a rollercoaster ride, in the blink of an eye, these moments will pass. The unpredictability will change and I know I will miss it. So I have to hop on, hang on and enjoy the ride.