The stoplight of life

In aging, behavior, family, life, women on February 19, 2012 at 1:08 am
stoplight before plugged-in

stoplight before plugged-in (Photo credit: atduskgreg)

Are you the kind of person who floors it through the yellow? Or proceeds, as is the point, with caution?

Sits, open-mouthedly day-dreaming, at the fresh green?

Do you anticipate the full stop and how long it takes to do it? (or how quickly you must?)

I’ve been seriously re-thinking my approach to work, life, love, mostly in how I react — or do not — and how slow my reaction time can be.

My new motto is: Go! Now!

I suspect many of us, behind the wheel, behave in the same ways as we do outside a vehicle. We’re decisive, or not. We focus carefully on the task at hand — or also try to text and put on mascara and eat a burger. We watch the road carefully for potential hazards or boom! we’re in an(other) accident.

I’ve wasted a lot of energy in recent years, paralyzed with indecision about which action to take, when and how — with my mother, work, books I want to write. I suspect it’s a holdover, and not a useful one, from my past, as the only child of a challenging mother with few nearby friends or relatives to help me when things got — and, boy did they — weird, out of my control and scary.

At times of utter chaos, standing very still to assess the damage while deciding what to do next is probably a smart choice.

That was then. This is now. Pedal to the metal, kids!

What color is your stoplight these days?

  1. Mine is the color of a Grateful Dead fantourage. 😀

  2. My light is a flashing red… Stop, Reflect and proceed with caution to avoid potential collision and if the coast is clear… GO 🙂

  3. Thoughtful post. I always stop at yellow lights, but when the light turns green, I go immediately. I wish I were more like that in my personal life. I think it’s good to be cautious, but once you’ve looked at all the issues and made a decision, you need to get on with it and not waste time. I have a hard time making a decision or following through when I’ve made one. Maybe your post will give me a little shove.

    • Thanks…and thank you for subscribing!

      I think we all get into habits of behavior. I am extremely decisive…but have failed to act on those decisions as quickly as I would have liked. Every (in) action has a consequence….and I think it’s a fear of that which is the root cause.

  4. I would love to say I’m going full-speed ahead, but it’s sort of like one foot on the brake and the other on the accelerator. I’m lurching forward, trying to coax that brake foot to let go a little more, a little more…maybe I’ll smooth out the ride eventually!

  5. Thanks for getting me re-thinking.

  6. My stoplight’s confused… it’s trying to be red, amber and green all at once 😀

  7. I think at the moment my stoplight just has three green lights – but that’s ok because my car doesn’t have any brakes. 🙂

    This kind of reminds me of the first principal of Wing Tsun: “If the way is clear, move forward.” (The rest of Wing Tsun, presumably, is working out how to tell when the way is clear.) I figure that is usually better to act than to delay. You may not know what will happen when you act – but if you don’t act, nothing happens.


    • Love this! Thanks for stopping by.

      I am much more for action than relection. To mix mobile metaphors, I often stitch my parachute mid-flight.

      I think many of us pause, unnecessarily, for much longer than is wise or helpful, whether socially, professionally or politically.

      • I have a great mental image of you sewing a parachute on the way down… I guess the trick there is to make sure you’ve got enough canvas before you jump – and I guess that’s why people pause a lot… they stop to think: “Do I have everything I’ll need? Um… not sure… maybe I’ll just test the parachute first…”

        I suppose it’s due to fear of failure – it’s easy to make the consequences of failure into monsters in your mind – then they paralyze you.

        But as some wise person once said: “He who makes no mistakes – makes nothing.”

        but then again: If at first you don’t succeed – sky diving is not for you… 😉

      • I think it really comes down to a mixture of things…you need the bravado/charm to get the gig while you’re still on a learning curve; you need to be able to DO whatever you have promised, as promised, on time and on budget — and if you’re screwed and panicky (yes!) you need a posse of pals who can give you whatever tools you’re missing at that moment so you can pull it off.

        Failure means….? I guess I don’t consider many things to have been “failures”, even getting canned from a few jobs or book proposals that didn’t sell. Time for the next adventure.

      • 🙂 Sounds good to me 🙂

        Yeah – I guess there’s no such thing as failure really – but that doesn’t seem to stop a lot of folks being scared of it… like the monster under the bed…

        Although, to be fair – the monster under the bed did eat one of my shoes, so it’s not completely harmless 😉

  8. Unless you’re really risking life/income/health (or that of your family), you have to try new things….and new = potential failure. Unless we “fail”, how do we learn our weaknesses (or strengths?)

    This monster you speak of would explain that hopping gait…:-)

  9. Uh oh. The light has been stuck on yellow for a looong while. This post comes as a good reminder to switch the energy and voltage that run my life. It’s a fantastic time to go and turn the light … psychedelic! 🙂

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