Life is a Carnival Ride

Crazy, how 1 memory – a picture, a name, a word – can send you spinning back in time like some crazy carnival ride.

Suddenly you’re miles or years away, and all you can do is hang on while fragments of the past fly by like a movie at high speed. Some images make me smile, some make me cry. Some I thought I had lost; but there they are, tumbling through my mind with no regard to order or sense.

The past. We may think we have it under control, tucked neatly between scrapbook pages or filed in albums online. We order the bits of our lives the way we would like to remember them, the way we wish it had happened. Weddings with no drunken relatives to spoil the day; holidays with no family arguments to sprinkle discord over the meal. The perfect history, as written by me.

Then just 1 picture, 1 unexpected word or name or comment…and I’m back there again. Slammed against the seat as the ride rockets off and reminds me of all my fears – I hate roller coasters, avoid them, wouldn’t ride them if you paid me. And yet – here I am.

Might as well enjoy the ride. Fear makes it seem worse than it actually is. I remember the advice given to me by a counselor years ago – when faced with a scary situation, here’s what you do – imagine the worst thing that can happen. Now imagine the best outcome. And the truth is generally somewhere in the middle. Seemed simplistic at the time. Or too easy to be true. But it’s been proven, time and again. And I have used that advice to successfully venture into situations that scared me.

Life is a carnival ride sometimes. A spinning, dizzying, let-me-off-this-thing carnival ride. Might as well try to enjoy the trip. Open your eyes. Look around. Enjoy the good and celebrate the fact that you got through the bad. We only get one ride. Make it count.

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