02 May The state of our roads – a metaphor for life perhaps?
Can you believe the state of our roads? It’s a bit of an odd subject to kick off a blog article I know, but bear with me, there is a serious point to this.
Pothole distraction and damage
You might not be able to drive yet, but you will definitely have seen or felt the potholes (or to be politically correct ‘surface defects’) that seem to be appearing everywhere in our roads. I travel a lot with my job, locally and nationally, and our roads are shocking! I even bust a suspension spring on my car the other week from the jolt of a pothole – sooo annoying. It felt more like a crater than a pothole!
Now I’m a girl from the Potteries in Stoke-on-Trent and I was excited to learn that one of the explanations for the origins of potholes was linked to my beloved Potters (an affectionate name for local people from Stoke). Potholes are so-called because the pots craftspeople used to dig up clay from the roads to make pots from. It was back when roads were more of a dirt cart track than a shiny Tarmac surface and the people who rode over the holes in the ground knew they had been excavated by the pot makers!
Anyway, back to the state of our roads…
Ranting about roadworks
Something else I noticed recently is that roadworks are everywhere! When was the last time you were late for school or got held up on the way to an event or class because of temporary traffic lights? It’s frustrating isn’t it? We have a roadwork epidemic!
I seem to get stuck behind temporary traffic lights on almost every journey I make these days and it got me thinking. Sitting there fuming a little, I had more time on my hands and, you know what it’s like, often your mind starts to wander and random things pop into your head – like the state of our roads and the multitude of potholes and irritating traffic lights.
Being held up by roadworks or jolted in your car by a hole in the road is stressful. It’s annoying because you feel your time is slipping away and the situation is beyond your control. Or is it? Yes, it’s distressing to lose time or be late for a class or activity. If only you had given yourself more time to allow for setbacks or planned an alternative route just in case. But this is actually a metaphor for real life.
“An obstacle is often a stepping stone.”
Planning for obstacles
In the case of roadworks there is often a diversion in place. Have you seen these, the yellow signs that attempt to be helpful by offering an alternative route to bypass the someone or the something that has blocked your way? That’s all well and good, but have you noticed how these signs start off big and frequent then dwindle until you start to question whether you’re on the right path because you’ve not seen a sign for what feels like hours?! Slight exaggeration there, but they do seem to disappear and at that stage you wonder where you are, have no idea how to reach your destination and you feel lost.
The sat nav has probably been screaming for you to turn around for ages because it’s unaware of the diversion in place and to make matters worse, you’re in the middle of nowhere and your phone signal has been lost. This is when you start to feel anxious and uncertain about what to do for the best. Do you stop at the next shop and ask? Do you politely wave down a passerby and ask for directions? Worse still, you undoubtedly now need a drink and a toilet break!
And to top it off, because we live in modern times, no one carries a good old-fashioned map anymore!
“Obstacles are put in your way to see if what you want is really worth fighting for.”
The traditional way to plan a journey
You might not remember this, but back in the day, before our technological revolution, we had to rely on atlas books and town and city maps. You would have to plan your route in advance of setting off on your journey. It was a wonderful thing when the Internet launched because you could print off a list of directions to follow. Genius! Of course you would hope to have daylight on your side so you could read the directions!
Diversion – the metaphor of life
You’re not just reading me letting off steam about the state of our roads. Diversions and hold-ups are a metaphor for life as I mentioned earlier.
Potholes are annoying because you generally don’t see them before it’s too late or you might be aware that they’re about, but because you have so much on your mind and you’re so busy you just forget about them. One minute you’re comfortably on your merry way and the next, boom, you’ve fallen down a hole and feel somewhat shaken. Has that ever happened to you? Perhaps you expected to do well in a test and the final results came as a real blow to you because they were lower than anticipated. Maybe you spruced yourself up for a ball or a job interview and your kid brother or sister spilled their drink on your crisp white shirt. Or maybe you have a super exciting activity planned ahead, but you fall ill the day before. You often can’t plan ahead for these things and panic can set in as you frantically search for a way out and to make things better.
Temporary traffic signals are like our internal signals and the choices we make. Life is full of roadblocks. People or things can stand in your way and prevent you from achieving something. This might be a loss of time or missing out on a big win. An obstacle can also be the trigger for negative emotions, thoughts and behaviour patterns setting in. And this is a place you want to avoid. A place very much like being lost in the middle of nowhere with no map, sat nav or phone signal.
“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”
Plan in advance
It’s a useful lesson in life to plan for the unexpected. If you build up your resilience and stay positive, setbacks will not affect you in a negative way. You will overcome troubles quicker and they will not leave a lasting impact. If you are passionate and determined about what you want in life and where you want to go you will get there one way or another. You will learn to accept that some things happen and are out of your control, so you rise above it and move on.
Diversions are distractions and whilst they can be annoying if you are trying to get somewhere or do something, they can also be exciting and intriguing. A distraction offers something new, something unknown, something that holds anticipation. How many social media posts or TV adverts have stopped you in your tracks because you just had to read or watch them? What was it that caught your attention and made you want to find out more? In this instance, you’ve fallen down one of those unknown holes and started a journey to somewhere that you never intended!
“Obstacles do not block the path, they are the path.”
What are you doing?
This is where so many people go wrong in life. They get to a point where they wonder why they are where they are. And how they even managed to get there. Questions arise such as ‘is this what life is all about?’ ‘What happened that made me choose this pathway?’
Ask yourself now, while you are still young, what do you want in life? What is your purpose? What do your future career choices, relationships, finances and goals look like? Do you know what you want and why you want it? These are serious questions to ask, but they can be the difference in you wandering meaninglessly in life, getting lost and distracted because of diversions and potholes, or achieving a life full of excitement, achievement and success.
You will always find your intended destination if you plan ahead, have goals and stay focused, despite setbacks. Decide what will make reaching your destination worthwhile. Think about studying hard to achieve certain grades at school that will enable you to get into your preferred university or onto the ideal apprenticeship. What plans do you need to put into place to gain work experience at a specific company or within a country? How can you ensure you get to go on that holiday or be a part of that team?
Roadblocks happen but it’s your choice in how to handle what comes next.
“If you find a path with no obstacles it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”
Choose the life you want to lead
Don’t be a passenger in life. Take control and sit firmly in the driver’s seat. I’ve given you many ideas to reflect on in this blog and I’d love for you to share your thoughts with me. What amazing journeys do you have planned? What setbacks have you overcome in the past and how are you going to find your future destination?
There are so many ways to connect with me including my social feeds listed below or privately by email.
Have the most amazing journey, whatever you’re doing or plan to do today or tomorrow. I wish you a smooth and joyous journey throughout the week, bye for now.