Saturday, September 20, 2008

Amusement Park Attendant Philosophy


It's hard to believe another month has flown by since my last blog. Seriously, where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday that my family and I were hitting the waves at Wisconsin Dells, a popular Wisconsin tourist hot spot with LARGE, exciting water parks.

As my six-year-old son and I were waiting in line for the go-carts, I noticed how slowly the amusement part attendants were strapping the kids into seat belts, shooing them in and out of the gate, and walking back to their umbrella that shields their golden skin from yet more sun. It struck me that of all the hundreds of amusement rides I've lived through over the years, every single one featured a poky attendant. Not one seemed the least bit anxious to rush through their work. I kept wanting to jump the gait and wind them up so they'd function faster.

Then I was reminded of all the times in therapy that I was encouraged to slow down, take my time, relax, take it easy, and so on. I'm not a type A personality, but I have been known to rush, rush, rush. I'm klutzy at times, too, mainly due to my impatient engine--at least I think.

Now that I look back on my forty years, I have learned that when I resisted the urge to rush through a project and subscribed to the amusement park attendant philosophy, I was able to think more clearly and wasn't so stressed. It also came to a great surprise to me that I was able to accomplish the same amount of project and even completed it more thoroughly.

I believe eating disorders are "rushy" disorders. They require a person to complete tons of work in a short period of time, whether that be exercise, obsessive thoughts about calories, weight, fat grams, or other non essentials, energy spent on beating oneself up emotionally, the exact routine completed to perfection, and countless other "garbage" that soon gets forgotten. If I didn't complete my exercises in the same amount of time everyday, I rushed through them the next day even faster to insure timely completion. If not, the rest of my day was ruined.

Therapy taught (forced me, really) to slow down, which was a huge burden for me. But as I practiced it consistently, I learned it wasn't as bad as I thought. I pushed through the uncomfortableness of it all and came through with new insights. I was okay. I didn't balloon up like a blow fish. My stomach didn't feel bloated. My life wasn't as overwhelming as I thought it would be. In fact, it was easier to manage, and that felt refreshing.

I believe God puts these amusement park attendant moments in my life to teach me that my way of thinking isn't always the best way of thinking. Change is hard at times, but it can bring growth and a better frame of mind.

So the next time you're waiting for the roller coaster, observe the calm, often bored demeanor of the attendant. Wisdom is found in the strangest places.

Try something different today.

Till next time,