Sometimes your life improving can be as simple as changing your perspective. This was brought home by something very common, yet very frustrating – road construction. In Wisconsin, where I live, there seems to be two seasons, winter and road construction. By the time the ice and snow on the roads disappear, they are replaced by orange barrels. This can lead to many unpleasant surprises. This can range from the simply frustrating longer commute times, to the more expensive flat tires and repair to your cars suspension system.
This had been taken a step further this year in my very own neighborhood. I live on the east side of our fine city. Most of what I enjoy doing is in the west part of the city. Normally, not too much of an issue. The drive is roughly 10 to 15 minutes for most places. That is until recently. They closed two of the main streets that connect where I live to the west part of the city. Just the other day, I went to pick up some flyers I had made up for my upcoming book signing. This should have been a 10 minute trip. It ended up being a 20 minute trip. With the current price of gasoline, this was a bit irritating. What I did learn was an entirely new way to get to where I was going. It also showed me a few different businesses I had either forgotten about, or never knew about. It was taking this detour that introduced me to them.
Another good thing about this detour caused by road construction, it caused me to use my brain. Often, we can get in a rut. How many of you take the same route to work every day? You drive on autopilot almost. When one street is closed, it can throw us for a loop. Much like no longer having to remember phone numbers because they are all stored in our phones, our brains tend to get a little lazy. What were to happen if we were in an emergency situation and we had lost our cell phone? Would we still be able to contact our work or our loved ones? By having to consciously come up with a new route to travel, and having to be alert on that route, my brain was getting a little bit of a workout. What happens if we never make our bodies workout? Do you not the same result could happen to a mind that no longer has to work?
Viewing the inconvenience of the road closer in this light, I found I had a lot to be grateful for. The new path caused me to be more alert and forced my brain to put in a little more effort. With cerebral decline becoming an issue the older we get, it is wise to take advantage of any brain workout we can fit in. The detour also introduced me to a host of new businesses and some that I forgot about. It allowed me to see a different part of my city I may have never had the reason to explore. These reasons turned the curse of road construction into a blessing. Next time orange barrels block or slow your progress, think of what benefits you may get out of the situation.