Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Take the moment

Today I faced one of my personal fears – theme park fun rides!

It seems like such a small and random thing to be afraid of, but it’s all got to do with being a control freak and wanting to know that I am able to make the ‘escape’ decision, if I want to.

Well, today we went to Gold Reef City (along with half of Joburg!) and I went on three rides I would normally have avoided. (The low number had much to do with standing in queues for hours!) I find out that I can actually go in a ‘log’ and tilt down nearly 90° to go shooting into a large pool of water – and survive. Ditto a roller coaster and spinning seats that whip you all over the place. Granted, I seriously avoided the more hair-raising rides. Small steps. (On the other hand, sometimes I am just too, too wise.)

I have no idea if it’s old age, feeling a bit silly, or a result of having gone through cancer and knowing, inside, that there is so much we can (perhaps, should) just do without always having to be in control.

Maybe it’s because I went on my own ‘roller coaster’ of cancer treatment, over which I definitely was not in control – and I definitely came out the other side in one piece.

There was also something strangely fun and affirming about spending at least 3 hours (or more) standing in queues in the blazing sun (and some shade, luckily) with my children – and a whole whack of strangers. We were all pretty tired by the end of the day, but all also not at all as exhausted as I’d thought we’d be.

There are also, I suppose, echoes of the well-used ‘Carpe Diem’ from Dead Poets’ Society: Seize the day. Take the moment.

Not a bad way to look at the world.

Quite a lot of the time, we have so much routine stuff to do that seizing anything seems quite beyond our scope. Maybe, though, we need to just re-look at things and consider what happens in our everyday lives as being special and worth ‘seizing’. It’s not a matter of trying to make everything different and special, I don’t think, but rather of doing everything the best we can.

Then there are those special moments, of course, which do stand out and which we can ‘seize’ and make the most of. Those will stand out from the everyday just a bit more and make for special memories. When we take those moments with those we care about, the memories are just that little bit extra-special.



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