Before the holiday break my wife and I were traveling on I-80 heading to Lincoln. As we got close to the city the traffic got worse. There were more semi trucks, more cars, and it was hard to drive with the cruise control on. Between Lincoln and Omaha the interstate becomes three lanes for each direction, but I-80 is just two lanes until then.
As we drove I had a weird idea and expressed it to my wife. “If we knew what traffic would be like today, like how many semis there would be on the road, would we have built the interstate that same? Would we have made a separate road or system for cars?”
If we could have predicted what traveling by car or truck would be now, would we have built our highways differently? It feels like cities just build on top of what is already there, and the highways and exits become a jumbled mess.
It seems it would be easier to have a hard restart on the planning of highways and roads. A redesign.
I know that is not possible, but I’ve been thinking about the issue with I-80 in a more personal and motivational way…
If you knew life was going to be the way it is right now, what would you have done differently in your younger years? What would you have done to strengthen your skills, or prepare for the emotional cost today asks for? How would you have planned your life to be better prepared for right now?
No one can predict the future, I know that. Yet, I feel that too many people don’t consider the future in any of their decisions and then find themselves unequipped to handle their future life.
And the consequences are devastating.
I see it in my students. I see it in adults. Even I have situations that are rough because of my decisions in the past. Again, we can’t predict the future. There will be unforeseeable situations that trip us up. Yet, as I watch my older children succeed, as I move into new chapters of my own life better equipped to handle what life asks from me, I believe that decisions today that are made with the future in mind will lead to better tomorrows.
There are so many factors to this mindset. I understand that, but even the smallest moment today can have a powerful impact later in life, be it days, years, or even decades. That impact can cause strife or help you reach your goals.
Now, I’m not saying every decision has to be broken down and analyzed for days before making it, but sometimes the simple question of how the decision will help you become the person you want to be or help you reach your goals is enough to help you make the best decision for the future.