Same Park. Different Rollercoaster.

I sat in Oz Park in Chicago this week on a Monday afternoon. Cool breeze, green grass, Wizard of Oz statues and all these kids climbing trees and dropping' F bombs. 

About 7 years ago, I lived catty-corner to the Tinman statue off Webster near a Dairy Queen. I was in my twenties, dating a boy (my now husband), and traveling quite a bit for work. There was this little garden in the corner of the park fenced in with little patches of flowers all over, meant to be more of a sanctuary beyond the running trail, kids playground and baseball field. It is called the Emerald City Garden, of course. I remember coming here with a book and a beach towel one day and I felt so overwhelmed. I often speak to my 20s as an emotional rollercoaster (or depending on which memory I am looking back on, a crazy shitshow) and I believe that is what the 20s are for!

Emotional. Figuring it. Drama. And the Shoulds. 

In that moment in time, I sat there on the grass trying to access a feeling of inner peace. And by trying I mean forcing... There were cherry blossom trees and bees and it was a hot one that day. I sat there thinking about my life. Most likely the emails rushing onto my Blackberry, if gluten free was really necessary for me and if my boyfriend and I were going to make it. 

I remember feeling tense amongst all the tulips. 

So I left.

After like 17 minutes. 

Today I sat in the same park and I thought about life. I see the cherry blossoms and the same tulips ready to bloom. There is an older man lathered in suntan oil in his beach chair he brought from home and black spandex shorts. He hasn't turned over in hours so I assume he doesn't care about the back getting any sun? The playground is packed with kids, there are strollers and a lot of pregnant bellies. Maybe I see them more now since I have had one of my own. 

And I stayed.

For hours.

I talked with a friend on the phone about personal goals and professional goals. I explored the scenery and actually wrote this blog in that little sanctuary spot. And I realize that in my 20s I thought that if I sat long enough or made enough money or got married, that THEN I would have it all figured out.

And what I realize now is that I am in the same park on a different emotional rollercoaster. One where I am open to the dips and climbs and swerves and free falls. 

And it is not so much about figuring it out or getting off the rollercoasters, it is about being open.

Being honest.

Being real.

And dropping the should's and embrace the now. 

Because fuck, that is what we got. And if I sit long enough, I realize its so damn good. 

-Jacki Carr