Rollercoaster, yeah (ooh ooh, ooh ooh)

9 Jul

I am the first to admit that at times I can be pretty tightly wound.  You know, tense, anxious, stressed, worried, restless, inflexible, rigid, uneasy- yes, pretty much the life of the party.  It’s not as terrible as it sounds, I promise!  I just tend to get so obsessed and overcommitted (clearly not in a relationship, ha) that I get tunnel vision.  I lose sight of just about everything else and it’s impossible to balance moving priorities and emotionally-charged circumstances.  I generally throw myself into work or some type of something (read: distraction) with such force that it becomes impossible to escape certain metaphoric injuries.  The anxiety of the growing situation intensifies and then I ultimately crash and burn- physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Very healthy, I know.  For the record, you try completely failing in your personal life (regardless of circumstance or the asshole involved!) and see how easy you are on yourself in the weeks, months, and even years that follow.  It continues to be, I suppose, a work in progress for me.

The resulting MO is always the same: I reach a breaking point, take a day to myself, and snap out of it.  So where am I going with this?  Well, I recently rediscovered a phenomenal way to let go of all that stress and restlessness…

Riding roller coasters at Six Flags – check!

Until this past April, it had probably been a decade since I was last at an amusement park or on a roller coaster.  I don’t know what sparked the idea but on a random Saturday in April, four of us jumped in a Zipcar and made our way to Six Flags Great Adventure.  While I was too stubborn to admit it at the time, I was in one of those tightly wound “funks” following the news of eight weeks prior; that almost a year to the day we had erroneous planned for, my ex married someone I once considered our friend.  I had immediately and quite fiercely thrown myself into work, but once my hectic spring travel schedule was behind me, I found myself there.  (And therein lies the “trap” – aggressively throwing yourself into a distraction doesn’t eliminate the catalyst; it just delays dealing with it.)

ANYWAY, back to Six Flags, which I realized for several reasons was a great way to loosen up, and let go of some of that stress.  So great in fact that I threw it on my summer bucket list, played hooky with the girls on a random Thursday in June, and did it all over again.  Here’s what I mean:

1.  Absolutely nothing is allowed on the rides with you.  No hats, no bags, no sunglasses, no phones.  No phones?  While initial panic accompanied the realization that both my iPhone and work   blackberry were about to be held hostage by a locker at the park, I very quickly relaxed and realized how energizing it felt to finally unplug.

2.  There is nothing more refreshing than hours and hours of sunshine and fresh air.  Despite coming from a place in which sleep had started to elude me again, I can’t remember my head hitting the pillow that night.  I truly was that exhausted from the great outdoors.

3.  When’s the last time you screamed your head off like a banshee all afternoon?  No really.  Like a crazy person.  Nothing will force you to let go and lose control like shooting 45 stories into the air at a 90 degree angle with speeds topping125 mph.  This is not your run-of-the-mill screaming-into-a-pillow stress reliever!

4.  Ditching those cell phones isn’t the only opportunity to rid yourself of responsibility for the day.  Nope, I (very responsibility) had a blue raspberry slushie the size of my head for lunch.  It felt right.

5.  As someone who is terrified of that initial coaster ascent, I (quite embarrassingly) silently sing a certain song to myself in an effort to stay calm.  Oh, you know you’re thinking it too.  You’re welcome:


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