Green River Star -

By Lu Sweet
Western Wyoming Community College 

Lifelong learning: Signs


August 22, 2018

Tis the season for a lot of road construction. I was traveling for business not long ago and I couldn’t help but notice the many, many roads signs as I drove. I started thinking about signs we are “given” or that we give out in our every day lives. Let’s start with signs like “slow down,” and “stay in your lane.” I think these signs are good signs for life as well and not just for the roadways. As we travel through life, these signs remind us how to safely progress. Sometimes we should indeed slow down, and take stock in what’s going on around us in our lives. Sometimes we really need to stay in our own lane and not try to micromanage others or get in their business.

Of course, a couple of my favorite life signs are “uneven pavement” and “steep roads.” Many times the roads we travel or the paths we take on the way to our desired end goals are filled with bumps, maybe even detours and sharp turns. Many times, I then feel ‘uneven’ or unsure, but must continue down the road to my goal. Likewise, ‘steep road’ signs are important as they give the driver information so they proceed accordingly-by slowing down, or moving over so others can pass. In life, we will have many situations we face where the road to where we are going seems almost impossible, very steep and very hard to climb. As Lucius Annaeus Seneca said, “It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.”

Other important warning signs on our interstates and highways include “Dead End,” “Stop Ahead,” “Exit,” “Slow Down,” “Falling Rocks,” “Rest Area” and “Low Clearance.” Each of these road signs is trying to give us a heads up or prepare us for a situation in which we might need to make some changes in order to drive safely. At the very least, we are given notice that it might not be “all smooth sailing.” Hopefully we are paying attention because in life, as with travels, it never usually is all smooth sailing.

Sometimes there is no advanced notice and when you are driving you need to make split second decisions. When driving in Wyoming, this might mean that wildlife cross the road whenever they feel like it. In life, there are many times when I’ve had to go to Plan B or make a split second decision. (And sometimes my children act like wild animals…kidding.) When there are car accidents, unfortunately, traffic can come to a standstill, you have to take a detour, or you have to sit and be patient, which is not always easy to do. In order to fix up a banged up car, you must report it or file a claim, clean up the mess so that you and others can once again proceed safely and then the car must be fixed. This is exactly like life. Accidents happen and when they do, they must be dealt with before you can proceed. They must be claimed as in saying ‘I made a mistake’-owning up to it, then they must be cleaned up and fixed.

Lewis Carroll said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” So what do we do? Well, as Earl Nightingale said, “All you need is the plan, the road map and the courage to press on to your destination.” With an actual road map or GPS in your car you should be able to figure out how many miles you have to go until you get to your destination. In life, if you set your goals and plan out your intended path or steps to achieving that goal, then you can start towards attaining it.

Of course, you need to check that you have gas and money and provisions for your car trip just as you need to have a plan or goal, resources and courage and support as you strive towards reaching your life goal destination.

Elvis Presley said, “The road to love is full of danger signs.” Beverly Sills said, “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” I say, “Don’t ignore the signs, but don’t let them stop you from making the trip or taking the journey either. Have a great ride!”


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