I was thinking tonight about traffic lights. I started by thinking about green. I immediately thought about how we look at green but start anticipating the change to yellow and then red. We expect that our progress will be interrupted. We expect that we are going to have to stop, to wait. We get very frustrated by these interruptions.
Then I thought about red. I realized that what follows red is….green. What follows stopping is going. When a red light in the other direction stops that traffic. When it’s safe. When it is my turn.
What if I looked at red as the prelude to green rather than the other way around? How would that transform how I think about the periods of waiting?
I would probably spend the time preparing to move, getting everything arranged for forward motion. I would probably look at the map to plan as well as I could. i would look around and stretch. I would be ready for green.
Instead, I sit at the red light, annoyed.
Maybe rather than waiting for the light to change, I should change my view. Then, when the light changes, I won’t be angry (“It’s about time”), I’ll be ready.
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