The Rollercoaster Ride

An example of a roller coaster, one of the sta...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve come to the very un-exciting conclusion that the path to “success” is not really a path. I don’t know where that term comes from… the idea that success is a location and everyone walks/runs/travels a path toward it is very romantic. But to me, it is not the reality.

Success is a rollercoaster; no, correction, “Success” is a theme park and each ride is just a step on the way to being a complete success. First, there’s the roller coaster called education – this is a ride that is long, sometimes boring with peaks and dips that have you cletching the bar in anticipation and screaming in horror as your GPA hurdles downward to a lowly D-… then, you laugh with relief as the ride finishes, your education complete and the rest of the theme park of Success seems an open wonderland where you truly get to explore your talents.


Enter the Emotion Lagoon, which includes such hits as “The Real World,” “Circle o’ Dashing Hopes,” “Financial (In)Stability” and “The House of Clever Plans”- you willingly enter this section of the theme park because you’re coming off an adrenaline rush from the ride of education (you barely notice the riders coming out, screaming at you to run away!)

The thing about the Emotion Lagoon is that, while you’re within the area it encompassess, you’re subject to mood changes… sometimes you’re happy, sometimes you’re sad… sometimes you feel capable of doing everything and laugh in the face of danger and sometimes you feel like the whole theme park is out to get you, destined to deter your every step and stop you from completing your goals.

In a moment of hopeful bliss, you step onto a boat that will take you on the Real World and it hits you.  No, literally… it smacks you in the face with a wet noodle. That’s part of the ride – the sudden realization that the real world is nothing like college/university. That all of those times your teacher said “in the real world,” he wasn’t just being patronizing… he was telling the gosh-darn truth… well, sort of.

After the wonderful float down the river of the Real World, which mellows you out significantly, you see a circular ride… this one is called the Circle o’ Dashing Hopes. In my mind, it’s kind of like one of those swing rides… you know the ones I’m talking about? Or maybe it’s the teacup ride… Those were fun, though they usually make me want to throw up… which is apt. Ok, so it’s a teacup type ride.

This one starts with job applications which are never answered. Some not even applied for… because there are no jobs for the newly graduated. The newly graduated need experience… but in order to get experience, you need a job… but there are no jobs for the newly graduated. The newly graduated need experience… but in order to get experience, you need a job…

Are you getting dizzy yet?

Oh, did I mention that before you get on the ride you have your choice of uniforms to wear – the park provides a collection of fast food restaurant uniforms, coffee shop aprons, waitress/bar tending outfits… anything from a job that will keep you fed and dry until you find “that job.”

You get to keep the uniform on as you walk, possibly tripping back and forth from the dizziness of the Circle o’ Dashing Hopes, toward Financial (In)Stability… This one… yeah, it’s a shaky platform you stand on and have to maintain balance while people around you throw “bills” at you – I’m picturing those rubber, handball sized balls with dollar signs painted on them. The goal? Maintain your balance while catching the “bills” and throwing them back to the people who threw them at you… (I guess they’ll have to be colour coded and the people who throw them will be wearing the logos of the institutions that supply hydro, phone, rent, loans, etc.)

Wow, now that I think about it, this would be a lot of fun… maybe I should look into creating this theme park for real…

Which brings me to The House of Clever Plans – this one’s a fun house that starts with a job interview. You exchange your uniform for a suit and tie, then sit and answer questions under a bright light with people all around you – a la interrogation. Then you venture into the fun house and wander aimlessly searching for a door called acceptance; in your travels through the house you see distorted versions of yourself – the different people you could become.. each path is a new plan filled with hopes and thoughts of Success… Once you find that door, you realize that you are one step closer to becoming one of those people you saw in the mirrors. You don’t know which one yet, but you’re devising plans in your head to become THAT person. THE success.

You get through the door, and there’s a large neon sign in the room that reads “the Office” – this is where all of your dreams come to a halt. You’re told to get onto a treadmill that powers some sort of machine that plays back a video about someone typing on a computer for 8 hours a day. You have to watch the whole video before you can move on. The video never ends. You feel like you’ve been there forever and know exactly what what’s going to come next – more typing… *insert unexcited yippee here, possibly with the twirl of a finger*

So, you stop listening to the video and look around.

Remember those plans you’d made? yeah, they’re still there, behind the video. They’d been there all a long, you just never noticed because you were so focussed on this new, fancy “Office”… but you realize that the “Office” is definitely not where you want to be… so you shift your focus in on these plans you’d made, trying to devise a new plan – to get off the tread mill, grab up those plans, and leave this boring “Office” once and for all! Because after you leave the Office, there’s a whole wide theme park called Success waiting for you! 

‘Course, I don’t know what’s after the Fun House called the “Office”… I’m currently stuck there, running on a treadmill, staring at my plans, trying to use my “jedi” mind powers to get them to come close to me… why not get off of the treadmill and grab them? Because I’m also still on the ride Financial (In)Stability and have “Bills” flying at me from all sides…

All of this while be inside the Emotion Lagoon, where my mood could change from happy go luck to “back off, or I’ll bite your head off” in a matter of seconds…

Needless to say it feels like my jedi powers are working against me and are actually pushing these plans away… luckily, I’m not alone… there are a bunch of other people in the “Office” with me, some of them are running, blind to anything around them… some of them have managed to jump off the tread mill and are  exiting the fun house, and some, like myself, are staring intently at their ever elusive plans, working toward the day when they can leave this room…

Geez, my legs sure are getting tired.

Does anyone know what’s beyond the “Office”?
Or do you feel stuck on one of the rides mentioned above?