Saturday, July 25, 2009

Alien Invasions

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

There are lots of ways to face your fears, even more ways to avoid them. I am not a theme park kind of person. I get no thrill from thrill rides and am usually the one holding the jackets and drinks while everyone else waits on line for the roller coaster.

Last year, I went to Splish Splash, a water park on Long Island, for the first time and discovered that although I don't love water rides they are more manageable. At the urging of friends (in the form of children) I got my courage up and went on one ride called Mammoth River which shoots you down a winding flume. I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. Although I was happy with my small achievement (and believe me I had to really push myself to do it) I knew there was no way I would EVER be able to do the biggest ride there...Alien Invasion. After all, who really wants to shoot down a winding enclosed tube in a four person raft, then get shot out into a giant funnel where you swing wildly from side to side and then splash into a pool of water? Just hearing the screams coming from the ride was enough for me to know, I would never do it.

A lot can change in a year.

On Monday, I went on Alien Invasion, not once but twice. Saying I liked it would not be accurate. I was terrified both times and each time I spent most of the ride wondering why I was doing it (when I wasn't wondering if this was how I was going to die.) So why did I do it?

It's good practice.

I guess it would be nice to think we could have a life devoid of fear or challenges. Sometimes it would be nice just to have one day without a struggle of some kind but as we know -- a life without fear, or the triumph over it, is hardly one worth living.

So, while riding Alien Invasion may not make my top ten list of life achievements, it pushed me past my comfort zone and reminded me of that intense, wondrous satisfaction you can only feel when you have done the very thing you thought you could not do. I'm considering it a trail run for the weeks and months ahead as I begin life as a published author (I promise I won't scream!)

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” -- Eleanor Roosevelt

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