AND I WAS PETRIFIED.
I held on with a steel grip, yelling like I was on a roller coaster and shaking my head, “No, no, no, NOOOOOO!” every time my brother-in-law started to push us outside the wake so steep it felt like he might as well have been shoving us off a cliff. My head was pounding as fast and heavy as my heart.
I was not having fun.
I wanted the ride to end.
And then a shot of divine understanding zapped me between the eyes and it occurred to me: I could end it.
If I wasn’t enjoying the ride, there was no need to hang on ’til someone else decided it was over. I had the power to decide for myself, and not worry one single bit if anyone thought it was silly or dramatic or lame for a grown woman to be terrified of riding a little old inflatable thing.
So I made the motion of slitting my own throat — the universal sign for “get me off this freakin’ thing” — and clambered back in the boat to let my heart rate return to normal.
Here’s the thing: Life is hard enough with all the things we legitimately can’t control. Which means we cannot forget this mantra, “We all HAVE choices; we just have to be brave enough to MAKE them.”
Small ones and big ones, they are all yours and they all add up. Every time you exercise your ability to make a choice, it leaves an imprint on your brain. You get more comfortable. It becomes habit. And, over time, it gets hardwired.