When The Check Engine Light Comes On


Every Thursday at 7:00 my husband and I settle down for our favorite night of TV. Starting things off is the funniest show ever (seriously…it gives “Seinfeld” some competition): “The Big Bang Theory.” The show centers around a group of extremely nerdy guys who try to drum up romance and fun in their lives. Sheldon, perhaps the most OCD person I have ever observed, is neurotic and very particular about things. In one episode, he is riding in the car with Penny, the cute girl next door. By the way, Sheldon never drives himself anywhere because…well…he can’t drive. Penny is a tad messy and blonde. 🙂 Sheldon notices that her check engine light is on in her car. Being the caring citizen that he is, he points this factoid out to Penny. Penny shrugs off the notion, saying that it’s been on for at least a month. The rule driven, always doing what is right Sheldon cannot fathom how in the world she could let it go without getting it checked. He even asks, “Is there a check the check engine light light?”


If you think about it, this whole concept of ignoring the check engine light is similar to what we do in life sometimes. Why do we ignore the warning signs that show up in our life? I think there are 2 main reasons:

  1. They let us know that something is wrong. Hence, the word “warning,” right?! Well, the problem comes when we try to make everything go smoothly. We tell ourselves that everything is fine, when in reality it is not because red warning lights are going off all around us. When you get a warning sign, then something is wrong.
  2. They indicate change. Nobody likes change. Those warning signs mean that whatever you are doing right now is not working. Therefore, you need to change it. This is hard to do because you are stuck in your routine, which is nice and safe and snuggly and tra la la.

Naturally, we try to keep going about our life as if we never heard or saw those warnings. We put up a front and act like we are A-OK.

If your situation is health related: your warning sign could be as simple as high blood pressure.

If your situation is job related: your warning sign could be that you no longer feel valued at your work place.

If your situation is relationship based: your warning sign could be that you are lonely despite being in a relationship.

Don’t ignore the warning signs. Get your health in order. Find a more challenging task at work or a new job. Talk with your partner in the relationship and discuss how you feel and how to fix it. It’s ok to be afraid of the outcome…that’s because it requires change and it’s different and it’s new. But know this:

The significance of the outcome outweighs the difficulty of the warning.


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