News & Updates Articles

news & updates articles « home

The Red Light Pursuit of Happiness

January 1st, 2013 · No Comments

Once my dad asked, “when you leave the house for work in the morning, do you wait for all the lights to turn green before heading out?” As an image popped in my head of me sitting in my car literally waiting for every light to turn green within the 20-mile distance between my house and my job, I laughed at the absurdity of his question.

“Of course I don’t wait for all the lights to turn green before driving to work,” I replied.

He then followed up and asked me, “Well… how do you make your trip… how do you take on the drive knowing that you will encounter red lights?” Not sure where he was really going with his line of questioning, I just looked at him. After a brief moment of awkward silence, my dad finally said, “Don’t wait for all things to be perfect in life before you start enjoying it”.

In short, many people wait to start living. They wait to get the perfect job, to make more money, to lose weight, to buy their dream home, to get caught up on their bills, to send their kids to college… and then declare to live and have fun. And for many, we live in a culture that does not believe in fun and happiness… subscribing to a philosophy that life on earth is about storing up rewards for our afterlife. But for those of us who do believe that we can also have happiness and fun while on this side of heaven, we need to be challenged. We need to do a better job living and stop putting life off until all the pieces are in order.

Living and enjoying life in the now… in real time… in the midst of the red lights was the point of my dad’s message. As a person who is very driven in my career and very fulfilled by the pursuit of my professional goals, I found myself as a young adult putting off my fun until I had reached my destination. I had papers to grade, students to mentor, education and degrees to obtain, organizations to start, and books to write. I did not have time for fun… fun would just have to wait until I accomplished the things on my list.

But when I started facing 40 a few of years ago, I finally got it! I understood the red-light-drive-to-work metaphor that my dad tried to share. Life is always going to be filled with red lights…with things to do, with disappointments, with uncertainties. Waiting for life to clear out and make room for fun is like waiting for all the lights to turn green before driving to work in the morning. Those of you who know me from my 30s and now into my 40s can attest to my pursuit for life… for fun… for happiness… so much that I have very little tolerance for environments (professional or personal) that suppress my smile. I am not talking about red-light moments of discomfort… I am talking about situations that require extended periods of darkness and the suspension of my humanity. I prioritize my pursuit for fun just like I prioritize my work. I pursue happiness instead of waiting for happiness to one day show up after all of my work is complete. Each day I start my drive knowing full well that I will encounter some red lights on the way. And, when I get to a red light, I embrace it by sitting and singing with the radio, waiting only for a moment before continuing on in my drive.

I took time to share this story because I personally know there are people who want more out of life but they keep waiting. They keep waiting for all the lights to turn green before being happy, before having fun, before enjoying life. As we leave 2012 behind us, think about my father’s challenge… stop waiting for all of the lights to turn green. Get in the car, embrace the red lights, and drive!

Have fun and be happy in 2013! Make it truly a Happy New Year’s Day!!

Angela Dye
PBS Development, LLC.
#Empowerment Starts Here

Tags: Personal Empowerment ·   · · ·