ROLLER COASTER PHOBIA PART I
Roller coasters comprise of loops, turns, spirals, hills and valleys which are designed to keep the rider unsettled or thrilled for the duration of the ride. They are not designed to be relaxing or predictable; rather the popular rides are constructed to be spontaneous, swift, startling, and spine-tingling.
What was interesting was the fact that although anyone can line up for the rollercoaster ride, not everyone will be allowed to go on the ride. As I progressed through the queue, I saw warning signs advising persons with health issues not to advance. There were other signs that cautioned that height requirements must be satisfied in order to progress beyond a point. Notwithstanding the warning signs, there are those who met the requirements and were very close to boarding the coaster, but changed their minds and left the line.
Some persons shy away from theme park rides altogether for various reasons, but most are related to fear. Persons who fear speed, heights, tight spaces and others may be wise to avoid these rides. Key to the ride experience is the fact that you have no control, and this is by design. After you strap yourself in, there’s no escape – you have to ride it out to the end. You cannot shout and scream to be let off the ride once it has set off, no matter how scary or unnerving.
This experience brought my thoughts to the reaction of some persons to Social Security. Based on conversations over the years I saw the parallels of my roller coaster experience to the views of some workers about Social Security. Some persons believe that the ride will be too demanding for them and as such, they prefer not to get in line. They are adamant that they should have a choice of contributing to the scheme or not. An extension to this view is that even if they agree to sign up with the system, they want to be able to make their exit at any time of their choosing and on their own terms. Fortunately, our system is not designed like that. Our system says that as long as you meet the qualifying conditions, you MUST sign up; you MUST ride with us!
One may wonder why such a strong stance is taken by Social Security, demanding that all who qualify register and pay. You see, like the roller-coaster ride, some persons are fearful for one reason or another of joining our scheme. Some persons fear that they would lose their money, they may never live to benefit from the scheme, the fund may run out when it’s their turn to benefit etc. As a result of these fears they may opt out of the system at the most inopportune time or worse yet, they may not join the line at all. It has been proven that succumbing to such fears would be to the person’s own detriment. They would miss out on a ride that is smoother and much safer that they thought. That’s why we try to egg you on- we’re doing it for your own benefit.
Persons who avoid or evade joining us or continuing their participation with our system, may face challenging circumstances; circumstances beyond their control. Often, these persons end up going for a ride, the same ride they were trying to avoid in the first place. Should incapacity strike, their resources may be quickly depleted and they become financially unstable and without any means to sustain themselves. Even those who planned to save and invest elsewhere and depended solely on those investments, realized that what they managed to put aside was no longer available to them (for whatever reason) or the amount set aside was grossly insufficient to sustain them for any significant period of time. As a result, their lives become bombarded with uncertainty, sharp turns and high speeds that render them flummoxed, frustrated and filled with fear.
However, it is almost certain that the persons who join our Social Security system and actively participate tend to have a greater peace of mind. They realise that the ride with us is much smoother and enjoyable than they anticipated. The support provided by the system provides a good platform for them to not only cushion any blow from unfortunate periods of incapacitation, but also allows them to build their retirement plans on a good foundation.
You see, the theme park I visited had very popular, big, fast scary rides, but there were also calm, relaxing rides as well. There were trams about 15 feet in the air that gave the rider a comfortable tour of the entire park. Much like our Social Security system, these trams were designed with mild elevation and velocity which are ideal for enjoying the views of the park or future without triggering any fear responses. ALL ABOARD!!!
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