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Why forgetting my social security number was a good thing

Yesterday I needed to use my social security number for something. I started to write it out and I couldn’t remember it.

I couldn’t remember my social security number, which I have had memorized for more than 40 years of my life.

Sure, it could simply be a little blip of the brain. I’m 50. I hear that happens. Our brains start to skip a beat a bit. Probably nothing to worry about.

But here’s where that blip took me — and I think it is a really good place to be: I do not have all the time in the world.

The truth is, anything could happen at any time. That little brain blip reminded me of this. I could lose my memory, quick or slow. Everything I’ve stored away, all my memories and loves and dreams and stories could vanish in an instant.

I could lose a limb. I could lose people I love. I could walk out the door tomorrow and never return. Someone I love could disappear from my life.

I do not have all the time in the world.

I don’t have all the time in the world to show the people I love how much I love them. I don’t have all the time in the world to write books or learn to salsa. I don’t have all the time in the world to laugh with my son and taste lime and go swimming in the ocean.

I do not have all the time in the world. But I have now. I have this moment, right here, smack dab in front of me. Whoops, lost it. Gone. Now I have this one. See how fast they go?

Last week I sent out an audio note I made for you about how essential it is to do what you want to do in life NOW. “

I got some great notes from folks who responded to that audio telling me about what they’re doing NOW to live the life they really want. {You know who you are. Thank you!!!}

One person who wrote to me is Suzanne Apelskog. Suzanne verbalized exactly what I wanted to write about today. Here’s what she said: I often think about how short life is also, not as a morbid thing, but as a reminder about the question, “Am I fully living my life the way that I would want?”

Just last week I was having a conversation with my dear friend, Patty Burgess whom I’ll be introducing you to in the next couple weeks. Patty and I were sharing our ideas about why it is so important to remember that we’re going to die and everyone we love is going to die. One of the biggest reasons was just what Suzanne is pointing to: when we remember we are going to die, it catapults us straight into the heart of the here and now.

It demands of us to answer the question, “Am I living the life I truly want to be living? Am I loving as much as I want to be loving? Am I intentionally creating the kinds of experiences I want with everyone I love?”

When I had that little brain blip, it brought up this question for me: “What am I waiting for?” Anything at all I want to do in this lifetime, I want to begin now. Right here, right now, while (oh-my-goodness-how-lucky-I-am) my brain is still zipping merrily along and (holy-moly-I-am-grateful) my body is vital and able.

You’ve likely heard poet Mary Oliver’s famous lines, “Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Those aren’t throwaway lines. They’re lifelines.

Let’s not wait. Today I’m asking myself, what’s one tiny step I can take toward one of my many dreams that have been stored away for later?

I don’t have all the time in the world. But I have this moment, right here, right now. Thank you for sharing it with me. Having this connection brings me to life.

What brings you to life? What step do you want to take? I’d love to hear.

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