I was driving down to Charlotte last night to meet some people for pizza and improv and while I was listening to Pete Peterson's talk on legends, the semi next to me started quickly moving into my lane. It was one of those moments that seems to move in slow motion, icy fear poured through my core, and I wondered if this was how my life would end and if I had lived my life in the way I want to be remembered.
Would the final page in my story include, "And she died on a cool night in December on highway 85 in a seemingly mindless accident."
(When you love stories and like to write-I guess that is how your brain works, at least that's how mine does.)
Thankfully when I quickly glanced over, the lane next to me was wide open so I was able to quickly scoot over without any catastrophe occurring.
But it made me think and remember how incredibly frail I am. Every moment of every day could be my last. I live and walk on a massive rock that spins through space close enough to a burning ball of gas to keep me warm but far enough away so I don't get burned to a crisp. I see a meteor and call it a falling star, make a wish; not remembering that if it was a little bigger I could die.
Or I could be killed driving to work by a college student who's drank one to many shots of whiskey or thoughtless truck driver who is mishandling a hunk of metal and my life could ooze out on the cold asphalt underneath the blinking lights. The soundtrack of my end could be that of sirens.
I am a small, dependent, feed me three times a day, give me oxygen, and keep my electrolytes balanced: human.
Most days I forget this, when you're alive and all the parts and pieces of your body are functioning - it's hard to remember how much has to go right to keep us alive.
There is a moment in the latest Ashtown book (Empire of Bones) when Cyrus is woken up by his mentor Rupert, to go on a journey back into the heart of the danger they had just flown from and Rupert is telling him that if things go well they will meet up with the rest of his family by lunch.
Then there is a question: "And if things don't go well?" Cyrus asked. "Then you'll never see them again," Rupert said, "And that mate is the truth every time you set foot outside your door, every time you sleep, every time you blink."
After I read that for the first time a few months ago, I just closed the book for a moment and stared out the window.
Every time I turn around, every time I blink: it could be the last time I ever see or speak to the people that I love the most.
Every word that I toss, every glance that I throw: could be the last that land on the people that I love.
What do you want to be known and remembered for? Start doing whatever it is, because you never know when you're going to end.
Welcome to a 40 minute car ride with Ming and her head.
(And people say you can't learn anything from fiction or children's books. PSHHHHHHHHHHH. Silly people.)