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Life happens: the roller coaster ride.

Son,

This is my first direct message to you, because it’s something you may experience one day. I want to tell you a story.

This story is about someone I know. This person went to an amusement park and self-selected rides in which she would partake in or pass on, purely based on the intensity of its appearance. Attractions that included fast-paces, high climbs, steep drops, and sudden turns were the ones she avoided. As you can see, she’s visibly frightened of roller coasters.

Now, son, I want to tell you something interesting. This person entered an amusement park last year. She surprised herself by trying all the foods and playing all the booth games. Above all else, she rode on every attraction, including a gigantic roller coaster. She was scared. She was anxious. She screamed, she shouted, projected her insecurities, and panicked. Yet, she also flourished. She absorbed the adrenaline rush, the thrill, the excitement of it all. She left the amusement park with mixed feelings, but with one new experience and story to tell.

Upon leaving the amusement park, she found out that another attraction was still under construction during her stay. She was curious to see it and looked up the details through the internet. The crystal-clear images and descriptions showed a roller coaster that dwarved the tallest mountain peak in sight, had more twists and turns than a ball of string, and plunged deeper than the abyss. It would have made the already-impressive roller coaster she previously rode on seem like child’s play.

Because she had seen the specs of the roller coaster, she knew exactly what lay in store for her. She had perfect, reliable information and knew exactly what to expect.

She knew there would be feelings of being on top of the world. Of confronting her insecurities. Of Excitement. Laughter. Thrills.
Yet, she also knew that there would be the not-so-good moments. The plunges were steep. The drops were long. The ride was lengthy. Last but not least, she knew that the ride would end sooner or later – she would eventually have to get off, should she happen to enjoy it so much.

Upon completion of the roller coaster, it was named  “Risk.“ Due to its extreme intensity, it was a proper name to uphold its theme. Those who participate on the ride know what’s in store for them. What’s risky about getting on this ride is how it could affect the person once he or she gets off. Those drops, climbs, turns, loops, scaffolds, and layout could affect them for life. Therefore, adventurists participated with full discretion of its potential implications.

So, son, what do you think my friend did? Well, she went back to the amusement park. And she rode on Risk. This is the same person who cringes at the sight of roller coasters. Who did her research on the logistics and consequences of Risk.

And you know, son, she came back from the amusement park, changed in many shapes and forms. She’s experienced the consequences of Risk. She’s traumatized, jumpy, and unstable. She’s feeling vulnerable, frightened, down. She’s injured, bruised, and scarred.

But guess what, son? She also enjoyed the climb. Reaching the top of the roller coaster before every subsequent drop. Feeling like she owned the world. Seeing it from the eyes of angels. Feeling that nothing else mattered in that point and time. Letting the excitement take over. Knowing that she made the conscious decision to go back to the amusement park. Knowing that she made the choice to jump on the most impressive roller coaster ever made. She felt like she was the world during that point.

And you know what else, son? Her injuries are going to heal. Her bruises are going to disappear. And her scars will forever serve as memories to one of the most sporadic, the most reckless, and the most rewarding times of her life.

The most influential father-figure of my life told me that life is like a roller coaster. There are drops in certain points of your life, but there are equal times when you’re at the top. Those plunges help you appreciate the high points, and both must exist for there to be a roller coaster called life. Simple physics applied to real life yo.

And that’s what Risk is all about.

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