Oh for the love of Pinterest.
I saw this image the other day. Seriously, it's awesome and such a great reminder to choose the front row. I want to be those people.
Did I ever tell you the story about the time Chris and I and his parents drove from Oregon to California to pick up a dog for my parents (Wyatt for those of you who've been around a long time)? This was before the kids were born - likely sometime around 2000.
On that trip we ended up at Six Flags outside SanFrancisco. Chris and his Dad wanted to go on this big giant roller coaster - one of those ones where you are strapped in over your shoulders, your feet dangle and you go upside down multiple times. Yep. I was hesitant but moderately interested. Into the line we went.
I had to look it up to see what it was called: Medusa.
We waited an hour for this ride.
During our wait I could feel myself becoming increasingly panicked about the situation in front of me. But I stayed in line. I don't remember now if I stayed in line because I wanted to or because they were talking me into it or because I felt like I had to because I'd waited so long already.
When it was our turn the three of us climbed into position on the ride and as the shoulder straps came down I instantly knew there was no way in hell I was going on this ride.
I yelled, "Excuse me! I need to get off."
My father-in-law thought I was kidding until he saw my face. Chris could see it too.
They released me from the shoulder strap and I walked over towards the exit. The people in line behind us yelled "boooooo" and made fun of me. I didn't care one little bit - not one bit - I was so happy to not be going on that ride. It was the right choice for me at that moment in time.
LESSON | There's nothing wrong with getting out of line.
Since then I've been on more rides and have come to love the thrill. For example, the Tower of Terror at Disneyland. I love that ride. It scares me every single time but I know I'll be okay. My first time riding it was with Katie and as they were strapping us in and closing the door (!!!) I looked over at her and said, "I don't think I can do this."
But I did.
And I freakin loved it.
And I've been on it close to 10 more times since that first time.
LESSON | We can do things we think we can't.
These days I do hard things I think I can't do more regularly. It's something I have to practice and choose and choose again. I'm getting better at recognizing it earlier - seeing it for what it is - an opportunity to be brave, to grow, to stretch myself, to leap. I'm lucky that I have a friend like Katie who encourages me to keep moving forward even when she can see and hear my fear and apprehension.
Here's the deal: I've been the people in the front row and I've been the people in the third row. I'm a crazy mixture of both those people and one or the other wins out at certain times based on circumstance, fear, confidence, etc. And that's okay.
To me thriving is actively engaging in those choices. Some days I'll step out of that line and other days I'll face those fears head on because I can do hard things.