Life is an Amusement Park

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

August 10, 2023

I’ve said it many times before: life is like a roller coaster. And while I do still think this metaphor is true, I’d like to expand it. I think life is more like an afternoon at the amusement park. We have moments of pure anticipation. We have moments of absolute fear. We have moments of pure exhilaration. Yes. All of this is true. But we also have moments of waiting. Moments of chatting with those around us. Moments of disappointment. Moments of stopping to enjoy a meal. And moments in which we travel from one destination to the next.  

I’m convinced this metaphor is truer than the simple roller coaster ride. Life isn’t always a ride. It isn’t always adrenaline enticing. At times, it’s about waiting for far longer than you’d like to. At times, you forget the wait because you’re having a good conversation or you’re looking forward to the ride ahead.

This Weekend

This weekend I had the opportunity to take my kids to an amusement park. We had a blast! I hadn’t taken them to a big kid amusement park yet, so this was their first time. When I sat and thought of it, I don’t think I’d gone to a big kid amusement park in almost ten years. And it was fun to have the familiar experience with them in tow. While they didn’t get on the main attraction – a roller coaster that went 73 mph and had an elevation of 222 feet – I was fortunate enough to take that adventure. And it reminded me about how positive a good old-fashioned adrenaline rush felt like. It wasn’t paired with anything traumatic. It was just fun. And it made me feel alive.

As Rainbow Rowell wrote in Attachments, “There are moments when you can’t believe something wonderful is happening. And there are moments when your entire consciousness is filled with knowing absolutely that something wonderful is happening.”

I sat in the second row. As the car I was in crept closer to the top, I took my glasses off and felt ready to go. As the ride sped down the first descent and continued through its three-minute journey, I kept my hands up and screamed. I screamed for joy, not fear. I knew something wonderful was happening.