I rode my first roller coaster when I was 38 years old. I was forced into this crazy behavior by my darling daughter. She desperately wanted to ride THE BIG BAD WOLF at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. I had to ride with her. And I was sooooooooooooooo scared! My only experience with roller coasters were the tiny ones for little children, we're talking toddlers and grade schoolers, and that was fine with me. Why on earth would I want to hurl myself through loops and drops and corkscrews? Why? Because I loved my daughter and I wanted to give her the experience.
So on the coaster I went.
And I fell in love with the thrill of the ride.
Oh, it was scary when we clickety clacked up the track. I was so worried one or both of us would fall out of the cart. I think I checked darling daughter's seatbelt a thousand and twenty times as we ascended. But oh, the ride. The ride was so worth the fear! I was transported out of my worries, my problems, the every day life events that can overwhelm a soul.
I was flying! I was so exhilarated by the experience, I quickly made my way through the list of the other rides at the theme park. Then I rode all the rides in Disney World, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. One of my favorites is THE HULK. Awesome ride.
And then I returned to the scene of my first coaster to ride THE GRIFFON. Fear struck into my heart as I saw the people dangling face down, at a 90 degree angle, looking at the ground from high above the people gaping at them from below. Oh my goodness. I stood in the line, with my daughter and a family friend. My heart raced, my ears pounded with the thrumming belts of sheer terror. I didn't think I could ride this one. I wouldn't ride it. But onward ho. I walked all the way into the ride's entry. I sat down. My daughter held my hand. Our family friend held my other hand.
I didn't want to die. And I was quite sure I would die on this ride. This was taking it too far.
We clacked up the track. I couldn't think. My brain squeezed with panic and I desperately wanted to get of the ride. I couldn't believe I'd done this ridiculous, stupid thing to myself. And I let my daughter onto this beast. We were both going to die. I knew it.
Then we dangled, face first, suspended for mere seconds before we'd plummet to our death. The bird released and flew down the 90 degree drop. It was beyond anything I'd ever done. I wasn't just flying in a machine. I was the machine. I was a bird.
I loved it.
I endured the terror again 3 more times. Front, side on tip of wing, and back on other tip of wing.
The terror was worth the thrill of the ride.
The next time you're afraid to try something new, feel the fear and do it anyway. Do it for the thrill of the ride.