Moving Too Fast
“Stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can’t take the speed it’s moving in”*
It wasn’t a train for me. It was a jetski, a waverunner, a Sea-Doo, a personal watercraft. I was 14 and on a family vacation, and we were on a jetski excursion to explore the surrounding waters. My parents would take one jetski, and my sister and I would take the other. Naturally being the older sibling, it was decided that I would be the driver, and I was super excited. With my 12-year old sis hanging on behind me, we started off.
Everything was going great at first- pulling away from the pier. I hadn’t started driving a car yet so I had little practice operating motor vehicles, but the steering was going- as well as could be expected. Then we hit open water. One by one, the line of jetskis picked up speed, pulling back on the handlebar and racing over the waves. I did the same, and sis and I began to fly.
For about 10 seconds. And then I stopped, panic-stricken. Slowed our speed way down and we began to bump-bump-bump over the waves. We were losing our group, and the guide at the rear of the line circled around to ask what was wrong. “I felt like I was going to fall off. I didn’t think I could keep my grip. We were going too fast.” And that was exactly it. I was afraid of the speed. We were not in shark-infested waters. I was on the swim team and wearing a life vest. Even if we had fallen off, nothing too terrible would have happened. But the fear of falling and whatever else was going on in my head were much worse than the yet-to-have-happened potential reality.
The end of this story is pretty hilarious- now. My sister and I traded places, and she, at 12, was like a tiny Evil Knievel. No fear of opening up the motor and racing across the water whatsoever. Trying to ride behind her felt like holding on to one of those inflatable dolls that won’t tip over, no matter how many times you punch or kick it. Well, that’s nice for the doll, but I was sure I was going overboard. So we stop again. And then, near hysterics, I force the guide at the back of the line (which by now is a group that has disappeared entirely) to take me on his jetski , until we can meet up with my parents and I can switch to ride behind a sturdier adult.
I recognize that feeling of wanting to slam on the brakes right now. Things I have been working on are starting to take off, to pay off. I joined the actor’s union and am auditioning in a new playing field. Teaching yoga is becoming a bigger part of my life and a bigger part of my income. My life in New York is becoming what I want it to be rather than what it “has to be” in order to live here as an actor. I love my jobs, my friends, writing this blog. It’s just- it all seems to be picking up speed rather quickly. I feel like I’m on the edge of it all really truly going somewhere. And something about that is really truly scary.
I haven’t driven a jetski since that incident. But I don’t want to fear the open water any more than I want to fear the opening up of my life. Moving on to the next phase is scary. I’ve got more potential to grow and succeed, but also more potential to fail- grandly. And I suppose, I may fall off and end up bobbing in the water, wet and a little humiliated. But this time that’s a chance I’m willing to take. I want the wind in my hair and the surf in my face. I want to fly.
*(John Mayer, Stop This Train)
Photo courtesy of Pinterest.