Me!, Seriously

Roller Coasters in the Dark

It has been a while since I last sat down to write. The weather got warmer, the days got longer, and my attention was diverted elsewhere. While it is still warm, the weather is starting to change, and the night air has a crispness that promises the coming of fall. The weather is not completely to blame for the return of the restlessness and discontent that I wrote about before. This restlessness and discontent drive me to introspection, which, in turn, makes me want to sit down and write. As seasons change, so do our lives, and sometimes it feels like the changes happen just as quickly.

I recently visited Disneyland while on vacation. I used to live in the area, and I had annual passes for 5 years. I loved Space Mountain and rode it a lot. By a lot I mean I could tell how many times it turned right near the end of the ride before the final left turn that took you back to the loading platform. Pretty sure it was 13 times. Riding it again for the first time in years, I no longer knew every nuance of the ride. It had been renovated and I’m fairly certain the track is the same, but I had forgotten many of the details. Is the nebula that looked like a flying chocolate chip cookie still there? I didn’t see it, but is that because it is gone or because I didn’t know where to look for it? The fading memories let me ride it with a different perspective, and reminded me of why I liked the ride so much in the first place.

The one thing about Disneyland I didn’t like was that none of the rides went upside down. You had to go to a different amusement park to experience that thrill. But then they opened California Adventure, and it had a coaster that went upside down, and took off really fast, and had a different level of excitement to it. But you could see every turn as you came up to it. You knew where the ride was going to take you. Space Mountain is dark. Really dark. You really cannot see the track, unless you’re sitting right in front. That makes the ride more thrilling. Unless you were a silly teenager who rode it countless times and counted the turns, you didn’t know what was going to happen next.

Life has felt like a roller coaster lately, like one that flips upside down in the dark but lacks the adrenaline rush to make it fun. I can’t see the track. I didn’t expect that last turn. Will I find myself upside down again? And maybe my life is still traveling the same direction, but my expectations and perceptions have been flying through the darkness. I don’t like the unknown. I don’t like wondering where things will lead. I don’t like to wait. I want every opportunity to have a clear label that tells me whether or not I should pursue it. I want to plan ahead.

So I feel restless, because I do not know if the ground beneath me is stable. But I have to take a step back and turn the lights on my perspective. I am blessed. When my apartment starts to feel too small, I have to remind myself that it only feels that way because I have so much stuff in it. Maybe it’s time to get rid of some stuff. When I don’t like the way I look, I have to ask myself if I have done anything about it lately. Maybe it’s time to get back on the exercise bike. When I feel like I have no money in the bank, I have to ask myself how I’ve been spending my money. Maybe it’s time to make better choices. I recently heard someone say that due to really hard financial times they celebrated their 13 year old daughter’s birthday by going down to the drug store and buying a 2 liter bottle of soda. Most 13 year olds these days are expecting a new phone or tablet or some other costly gadget. This one got a bottle of soda. I suspect my discontentment is because I want things I don’t really need. Sometimes I don’t think I know what I really want, which creates its own strange discontentment, but I know deep down inside I have everything I really need.

I still don’t know what tomorrow holds. I may not be able to control some of the unsettled feeling that feeds restless discontent, but I know my discontent is mostly about what I think I want. I really do expect some things to change in my life soon, but I cannot guarantee it, nor can I guarantee any change would be for the better. I have something coming up in a few weeks that will be a challenge for me. It will be a challenge because I have to be away from home for a few weeks, and it is not a trip I am taking for pleasure. I can’t help but feel like everything will be different when I come back.  The best part about Autumn for me is seeing the changing colors.  I’ll miss the first two weeks of October here in New York, so I might miss my favorite part of the next season of the year.  The end of summer and beginning of fall threaten to be hard for me.  This, too, shall pass.

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