I recently wrote this to a friend on Facebook.
Her reply: ‘You make it sound so sad.’
I would’ve liked to say that I really looked forward to turning 20, that I look towards this new year of my life with complete hopefulness and anticipation for what is to come. But in all honesty, I’m sitting on the fence between anticipation and fear. The past few weeks have been really hard for me, and only a few people know what has really happened. I can’t pinpoint any bad event that had occurred, it all just became a little too much. I guess.
When I’m asked ‘how are you?’, I answer ‘I’m getting better.’ With a slight hopefulness that there is an end to a dip in my lifeline. Although I know that there will be many more ups and down that will come in the future, some that will go lower than most, and some that will soar so far above that it will never be matched.
I look forward to the days where the happiness plateaus, as all those mathematical graphs use to do.
But then I think a little deeper, and try to illustrate life in the most cliché quote ever to be used in all blogs of expression, instagram posts, or even twitter statuses:
Life is like a rollercoaster.
You wait in line for your turn to ride, hearing stories about the drops and the turns, the spins and the climbs. You learn about all the things that await you and every part of you itch to be on the rollercoaster to really see what it feels like to experience everything that they had said would happen.
Childhood. You get strapped in, with safety belts, buckles, and harnesses. Feeling like absolutely nothing can touch you now, nothing can hurt you or damage you. You feel invincible, ready to take on this journey all on your own.
Teenage years. Slowly the gears start to turn, and you realise maybe you aren’t so ready for it after all. You have heard about the dips and the climbs, but there are still so many questions that you still have to figure out. The rollercoaster starts. You’re thinking in your head – ‘I’m not ready for this’.
All the firsts. The first big climb. The first vertical drop. The first turn. The first flip. You weren’t anticipating it, and you never know what comes next. You just know it when the moment arrives. There are periods when you are climbing higher and higher, and right at the top, for a moment you feel as if you’re on top of the world, you see everything around you and you know that at that moment, you are above everything.
Then the drop arrives.
The moment you see the tracks just disappear from your site, you know that you are going to fall. You scream. You shout. You hold on as tightly as you can to the metal bars, you press your feet as strongly against the front seat, pushing yourself as far away as the ground as possible.
You brace yourself for the impact. But it doesn’t happen.
Instead, you go up a little. Swerve a little to the left, then maybe a flip, then another swerve to the right. The whole time feeling yourself shift within your harness. Maybe it isn’t so safe anymore.
Soon, some of the movements of the rollercoaster are familiar. Instead of screaming in fear, you learn to let your hands go and just enjoy the ride. Sometimes there are periods of flat travelling, and you get a little bored in comparison to the contrast of the highs and the lows. But there are also moments when something new arises, and once again, you brace yourself for another unknown feeling, deciding whether to fear it or love it.
Adulthood. You know all the ropes by now. You simply enjoy the ride. The ups and downs still come but you know how to deal with them, how to ride them out. And most of all you learn how to smile for the camera. Making the pose that most represents you, the legacy that you leave behind, the one that you can never afford to buy at the gift shop, but the one that you’ll look at and smile at the ridiculousness of it all.
Elderly. You’re slowly cruising towards the end of the ride. You know that it’s become more simple, more flat. But that’s okay, because you’ve had an extremely exhilarating journey that nonetheless exceeded your expectations. It was nothing like you had imagined, there were bits that you hated, there were bits that you loved. But you will always remember the climbs and the drops the most.
Life is like a rollercoaster.
A journey of ups and downs. I can’t say what will come in the 2X’s. But I will simply brace myself and try to enjoy the drops every now and then, hoping that when the time comes to smile for the camera, I’ll be ready to show-off the face that represents me the most.