Do not impede riders in front of you by going too slowly. That is what RULE NUMBER 5 of the Alpine Coaster stated at the top of Kolbensattel near Oberammergau, Germany, as we waited to board our personal alpine coasters. My stomach had started turning over on the way up riding the chairlift. Gazing out at the beautiful views of mountains and valleys, green and lush as only a ski resort in the summer can be, I could hear our kids happily chattering away in the chairlift in front of us but all I could envision was my daughter falling to her death in front of me or at the very least crashing on to the rocks of the sparkling stream happily wending its way down the mountain below. My husband and I watched as a mother whizzed down the mountain in a coaster with her not even two year old nestled between her legs (we couldn’t see the child’s seatbelt). He looked at me and I just said, “Adventuriety!” “That was exactly what I was thinking,” he chuckled.
Yes, he laughed and I started planning. I started laying down my own RULES! “Here’s what we’re going to do,” I told him, “Ashley doesn’t need to go superfast all the way down, tell her that she doesn’t have to be the fastest, maybe you should go in front of her just in case the brakes fail, then you can stop her. Yes, you should definitely go in front of her.” And all my sweet, supportive husband said to me was, “Let’s see if you can say nothing to the kids about what they need to do to be safe.” Not very good husband behavior, but probably very good parenting. I failed that challenge by the way.
Surprisingly, everyone made it to the top of the mountain alive and we were met with a long line of people and children (heaven help them) waiting to board these dangerous contraptions. As soon as my kids got close enough to read the tiny print of the rules/instructions (thank you Kolbensattel for printing these in English) they started to tease me about RULE NUMBER 5. You can’t impede traffic! It’s against the rules to go too slow! They thought that this was hilarious because they knew that I would go too slowly, I would break rules, I would impede traffic and they would be so far ahead of me with their non-braking ways that they wouldn’t even be embarrassed, only laughing hysterically as I puttered across the finish line. My daughter was swearing she would not even touch the brake and my stomach clenched because that is who she is and I am who I am. I will just go last so I don’t have to watch the carnage I decided. My supportive family amused themselves in line by reading that rule to me over and over again and laughing about it. Maybe they have one point, but I think there are a few other angles.
I agree. I am a scaredy cat and yes, I rode that brake and I impeded traffic just a bit, but I had fun and as soon as I got started I realized that the speed was controllable and maybe getting a little wind in my hair was more fun than scary. Although, I was startled when I cruised around a corner, looked out over a bucolic scene of fat, happy cows grazing on a green hillside and heard lots of bells, warning bells my mind instantly screamed! Danger! Nope, just happy cattle bells, Daisy. I made it to the end of the track, actually not quite the end of the track because I didn’t have enough speed, but close enough. As I watched other riders back up traffic and still get off the coaster with a smile, I realized that maybe I am not the only one who does not want to fly down a mountain and that adventure is in the eyes of the beholder and you my friend (talking to myself here and all my kindred spirits out there), deserve to adventure at your own damn speed.
It’s important not to miss out on life. I want adventure. I want to see and do new things and new things usually scare me and make me creative (new things to worry about). I don’t want to always ride the brakes. I want to feel the wind in my hair and hear cow bells, not warning bells. On a regular basis I get worked up about something and when it happens it doesn’t even come close to how badly I imagined it would turn out (knock on wood). I practice this skill in all kinds of settings; you should have seen me at the dentist a few months ago (check out my Tabata post for a creative way to combat dental visits). Life is about easing up on the brakes a bit. That doesn’t mean going full tilt and being crazy, irresponsible and dangerous. It doesn’t mean being so busy you can’t enjoy life or those you love. It does mean saying yes to something fun or different that might make your stomach feel funny or your kids tease you. When I was in line to get on my coaster I was thinking I should have just stayed at the bottom so I could take pictures, but I’m grateful, yes grateful, that I sucked it up and got on the coaster. When my kids were laughing and talking about flying down the mountain and how fun it was and my husband was telling my daughter that he tried to catch up to her but he couldn’t and my son was talking about how he felt the coaster lift off the track on a fast turn, I was grateful that I had shared that experience with them. No regrets here, we’ll talk about it someday when they visit me in the nursing home.