I had been sluggish. In my dreariness, I could notice myself getting slower. It was not only harder to get out of bed, but also harder to quicken my step, speed up my thoughts, or find my voice. I felt myself melting into my chest with the weight of my mood. In this, I made a birthday wish: to go to Six Flags.
I’m used to finding easy rushes. I’ve had quite the career discovering instantaneous adrenaline pulsing through my veins. I did so by living so close to the edge, I found myself falling off of it often. Living inland, I’ve begun to collect tools for the days when I need a boost. I rollerblade, I hike, I explore, I try new things, new things that are risky, but not which risk my life, and, now, I go on rides. About three months ago, a therapist I work with sent me to Disneyland. To most, going to the happiest place on Earth might seem like a breeze, and, though it was delightful, it was work. I was in the midst of a low point, and the getting up early to make an effort to put myself in an environment that might change my mood was not as easy as it might seem. Long story short, every ounce of energy I had to muster up to see fairytales come true was worth it. Watching children in costumes encounter their most beloved characters, riding the same rides I remembered from years prior, trying every flavor of salt water taffy, and feeling the overall joy of the park was an immediate calm to my pessimism. The tug on my mind seemed to loosen a bit, and I could recognize my great luck on this planet. But, the rides were not quite what they were as an eight-year-old. This time, I went big.
Because I’m surrounded by some of the most unbelievably supportive and encouraging people in the world, everyone I’d asked to join me at Six Flags was for it. So, off we went to face some of the largest roller coasters I’ve ever been on. From the moment I scanned my ticket until the second I left, I was enthralled. Something I’ve been told recently is how much people would love it if, for a minute, I could act my age. “If you could just stop being a 73-year-old in the middle of an existential crisis for a second…,” the same woman who sent me to Disney said today. The thing is, I sometimes wish that, too. Not that I think all ignorance is bliss; I’m certainly glad I don’t have to be a teen binge-drinking to the latest rap music on the radio, nor do I feel the inclination to use the latest slang to get my point across, but there is something to be said for having the major crisis be which color dress to wear on a date.
With this being said, all of yesterday, I was nineteen…maybe even younger. I had not been on a roller coaster in probably three or four years, and I’d almost forgotten the feeling at the top of a drop, the one where your heart leaps into your lungs and your brain might actually move in your head and you loose your breath and scream. I was exhilarated, excited, nervous, and happy; so, so happy. It felt as though there was no one in the park, because there were no lines whatsoever. Ride to ride we went, screaming, laughing, crying, and laughing some more. It was hot and we ate dippin’ dots and my biggest problem was whether or not we’d make it on enough rides. It gave an entirely new meaning to ‘an easy rush’. The greatest wish and the best gift.