It’s easier to consider the impact of our decisions when there’s an immediate consequence or response. But this is much harder to do when the fruit of our actions come much later. Still, we must regularly consider how our choices today will affect life downstream.
For instance, the cost of having a poor diet or other lifestyle habits is generally not felt immediately. But these choices will affect the quality of our life later down the road.
And this is true in marriage as well. While it’s easy to overlook some concerning trends at first, these issues only become more problematic downstream when they’re not dealt with adequately.
Likewise, how we raise our kids and model life for those coming after us will have a tremendous impact on the next generation. But this is still a cost that’s ultimately paid later, and perhaps not even in our lifetime. As such, it’s tempting to just focus on our own happiness for today and not worry about how our choices will shape life for others in the future.
Of course, we don’t know the future and it’s pointless to try to predict and control every outcome. But there’s still wisdom in remembering our actions don’t happen in isolation. The consequences of today’s choices will ripple into the future. And when we pollute the river upstream, this will eventually catch up with us downstream.
This is a reminder that we’re playing the long game whether we’re aware of it or not. And we can make wiser choices today when we consider the long-term consequences of our actions. Much unnecessary suffering is the result for ourselves and for others when we don’t.
To be sure, the consequences of today’s choices continue to flow down river. Make wise decisions and allow life and relationships downstream to thrive.