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Celebrate Green Lights

Author: Samantha Thuesen

A sure-fire way to spark conversation is to ask a thought-provoking question; there will usually be multiple answers, none of which have to relate to each other. It fascinates me how something can be interpreted in several ways, and how every interpretation can be logical (most of the time). When I struggle to find a topic to write about, I like to ask myself these kinds of questions to see where my mind wanders. I googled “thought-provoking questions” and came across a blog post by Peter Pilt called “39 Powerful Thought Provoking and Inspiring Questions.” Immediately, I found what I wanted—the perfect opportunity to use the great power of the metaphor: do you ever celebrate the green lights?

First, let’s address the literal meaning of this question. We can all agree that red lights can be maddening, especially if you’re in a rush. If you live in a city, the incessant stopping and going can be even more infuriating. Red lights can easily get a reaction out of us, but what about green lights? Do we take them for granted? Personally, if I’m approaching a green light I feel anxious knowing that at any moment it can turn yellow, and then I’ll have to make the split-second decision to either speed up or slow down (but I’ll speed up most of the time). To put it simply, red lights make me angry because they’re preventing me from going, and green lights make me anxious because they have the potential to prevent me from going. NOW, let’s get metaphorical.

In life, we have many red lights—obstacles that keep us from achieving what we desire. These red lights can come in many forms: your health, your location, your education, your financial situation (rhyme only slightly intended). Obviously, these obstacles are frustrating; they make it harder for you to get what you want. You may tell yourself if the circumstances were different, you’d be able to do anything, but that’s not true; you can already do anything. For some, “anything” isn’t an option, but there is always something that is just as satisfying. The circumstances only interrupt you, and with time and patience, the light will turn green.

On the other hand, life offers many green lights as well. We can spend time with our family. We can go out with friends. We can wake up every morning to watch the sunrise. For those of us in the world who are blessed with freedom, we have the opportunity to pursue our dreams. However, that yellow light is always looming over us, making us think everything could come to a jerking halt, so how do we live with it? How do we keep driving without the fear of being stopped? The truth is, that fear may never go away completely. There will always be a chance of that light turning yellow, but that’s all it is, a chance; it’s out of your control. You have to keep driving and celebrate every green light you pass. Spend time with your family. Go out with your friends. Watch the sunrise. Pursue your dreams. Don’t let fear slow you down, because even if the light does turn red, it will always turn green again.

All of this many sound silly, but that’s the metaphor at work; it allows us to see truth in unusual places. Make the decision to always live your best life. And for the record, I don’t want to encourage speeding through yellow lights. Be smart and drive safely.

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