Your Life and its Dashboard Lights: Why You Should Care

by - October 1, 2018

Have you ever had a vehicle with an engine light that just won't go out no matter what you do? Of course, 'no matter you do' should include taking it to someone wiser and trained in the ways of 'what do the funny lights mean'; but if we're being honest, don't we sometimes just keep driving in the hopes that it's a glitch and it will work itself out without intervention?

Someone once told me the lights are there for our protection. That in being proactive, we may face a bill, but it will be a lot less than if we continue to drive, perpetuating the problem, making it bigger (and more expensive) than it had to be.

Yet, here I am, still driving our (hated!) minivan with all the lights on. Not only that, but the exhaust is pretty much busted, so it sounds like I'm driving a grungy motorcycle. It makes me angry every time I get in it, but we've also decided it's really not worth dumping a bunch of money into it because its best years are behind it. There's a point where something crosses from salvageable to disposable. Sometimes it's better to just drive a thing into the ground. Then you can invest in a new something that's shiny and reliable and not a minivan! Something that is not the roaring sound of ugly hell on wheels.

But what about me?

Is there a point where I'll go from salvageable to disposable? At what point are the best years behind me?

(Ugh! I'm depressing myself.)

But think about this: what if we had dashboard lights that lit up when something was a little off? How long would we wait before getting our keister into the shop? At what point do we realize that light isn't going off on its own and it's time to bring in the mechanic?

Probably a little later than we should.

In a life of incredible busyness, it's easy to ignore our bodies. We skip meals, we drink too much coffee, we stay up late, we miss the signs that anything has changed. "I'm fine. I'm just tired." That same old mantra.

Is it true?

I recently went for a physical and my doctor asked me if I've been more tired than usual. I laughed. She sent me for blood work which came back with markers for anemia.

I looked up the symptoms of one afflicted with anemia and it was as if every dashboard light in my body lit up with the power of a thousand suns*:

  • tiredness
  • insomnia
  • thinning hair
  • dizziness
  • leg cramps
check - check - check - check - check

I immediately felt like an idiot. But then I felt kind of great. I'd been blaming my weariness on ALL THE THINGS, and though they certainly add to how I'm feeling, they're not fully to blame. And if how I'm feeling is a diagnosable thing with a simple cure, I could be doing ALL THE THINGS and feeling good in my head, my heart, AND my body! And that's the dream right there.

I have to go back for more testing. In fact, I'm going to the hospital first thing tomorrow morning. But I'm hopeful, that with the proper attention by the people who 'know what the funny lights mean', the dashboard of my life will be clear, and the only light ahead of me will be a big green GO that means my best years are still to come!

It's time to stop being a grumbling, yawning minivan. I'm ready to see a fully restored 1979 Volkswagen Beetle** when I look in the mirror!

* Too much? Whatever. I'm tired...

** Were you thinking of something more along the lines of a Maserati or a Porsche Boxster? Yeah. You obviosuly don't know me at all! 😉

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  1. I enjoyed your story Alanna! I am always amazed at how you can turn everyday life into a great story.


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