I recently got the rare chance to go to an amusement park without the Princess. That meant an entire day of grown up roller coaster fun! Days like that are few and far between. I usually feel too guilty to go have fun without the princess but the stars aligned and she got to have a kid fun weekend with the grandparents while I got to head to Lake Erie for a weekend at Cedar Point. If you haven't been and you love roller coasters, you MUST go. Six flags be damned...Cedar Point is where it's at! Trust me on this.
Now there are more than a handful of great, scary, awesome coasters to be found there. But one of my favorites is Top Thrill Dragster. This ride is crazy looking and even crazier to ride because for all of the hours standing in line, you get 17 seconds of super fast, super high, don't know which was is up or down excitement. I love it!
And really it's no surprise that I love that ride because the comparisons between that and my love life are pretty much right on.
It begins with the hours long line. It winds around the corral, layers deep and filled with people of all sorts. There is no better social experiment that to watch the behavior of and listen to the conversations being had by the people standing in line with you for a roller coaster. It's a scary thing. Much like my dating history, filled with people that you can't believe you are connected to and wondering if you will ever get to the end of the line in one piece and hop on the ride to enjoy the thrill of your life.
By some miracle, you manage to survive the journey to the front of the line and it's almost your turn to get on the ride. That's where the "I feel like I'm going to throw up/pee my pants" feeling starts to kick in. Even if you been on the ride before, it still hits you as you realize that you are only two riders away from getting on it.
This is where, in the relationship realm, things start to go from casual to the prospect of being in an actual relationship. You are excited about the idea of it, but it kind of makes you want to throw up at the same time. You're pretty sure if you can just have some courage and stick it out, you'll be so glad you did once your ride is over. You only contemplate ducking under the turnstile once or twice while you are waiting there anxiously for it to be your turn.
You've stuck it out this long, hours into the wait, winding through endless miles of metal corrals, enduring the inane chatter of the freaks in line with you, and now it's your turn to climb onto the ride. You wonder how the single seat belt and measly lap bar could possibly keep you from flying right off the ride and plummeting to your death. This can't be safe! But you talk yourself down, stifle the panic attack, and decide you are going to hang on tight and enjoy the ride.
From a relationship standpoint, this is where you decide to quit worrying about what might happen, what might go wrong, and just make up your mind to enjoy the ups and downs that are about to come your way. You know if you just hang on tight, you will be taken for the ride of your life. You buckle in tight and hope for the best.
Then it's GO time. For this particular ride, you go up to the line like a drag car would, the lights go yellow, yellow, yellow, green and then you launch from 0 to 120mph in less than 4 seconds. That's freaking fast people!! You don't even have time to scream. Next thing you know, you are are shooting 410 feet straight up to the sky and twisting as you do. You have just a few seconds as the car rounds the top, where you can take in the beautiful view of Lake Erie, before you plummet straight down towards the ground. You level out at the last possible second and find yourself wondering what the heck just happened and how it could be over already.
For relationships, this is the whirlwind part. You shoot off superfast, too fast to even react to things that might be awesome or might be scary. Then you fly straight to the sky, nothing can stop you, it's all just twisting and climbing. You get a moment where you can look around and enjoy the view, take in what has just happened and where the two of you are for that moment in time, and then you are right back into the fast paced descent. For some relationships, this is where you look forward to leveling off into a stable, safe pace. For others, it's the crash at the end of a crazy ride where you really just want it to stop so you can walk, not run, to the nearest exit!
17 seconds. That's how long this ride lasts. That's about as long as some of my relationships have lasted! This time was a little different. I was on the ride with the right guy. We waited together, climb on together, held on together, and enjoyed the up and downs of the crazy ride together. We walked, didn't run, to the nearest exit together. And then we got back in line to do it all again together.
Maybe that's the secret. You can make it through the ups and downs of roller coaster and relationships and actually enjoy the entire ride if you have the right person screaming along with you.