I had a dream last night that I got in a car accident. Tires spinning out of control on rain-soaked pavement, my body slamming forward into the steering wheel, legs crushed on impact, arms thrown over my head, face pelted by both rainwater and shards of glass from the windshield, chest cracked by the pressure.
I woke up in a hospital bed, eyes glazed over, arms numb, legs casted, chest held together by pins. And it all felt so real. The pain. The fear. The realization that I had no idea what time or day it was and life was going on all around me and the people I loved had no idea where I was and I was alone and in pain and I couldn’t breathe.
And would I survive?
And laying there, slowly drifting out of sleep, realizing my casted legs were actually just twisted into the blankets, my numb arms were just thrown over my head and tingling with sleep, my chest was really just covered with a heavy pillow—I felt sick.
Because life is so damn beautiful, but so often I take it for granted. I spend so much time feeling sorry for myself, being selfish, wishing for more, crying over little things, that sometimes I forget what I have isn’t permanent. And at any moment, what I’ve been blessed with can be taken away.
And for a moment I just stayed there, eyes closed. Feeling the pounding of my heart. Feeling the tingling in my fingertips, reminding me that my arms were merely asleep, not broken. Feeling the air flow into my lungs and the nagging sensation in my tiny bladder, telling me I should get up and take care of business. Feeling the thoughts in my mind shift from the craziness of a dream to the soft, slow beat of reality.
And it was scary. So so scary.
Because what if that dream was true? What if the people I loved suddenly were powerless to know what had happened to me? What if I could no longer hug my father? Kiss my mother? Tell my sister how proud of her I was? Give my best friend and her new husband a gift on their wedding day? Laugh? Tell people I loved them? Share special memories before it all ran out?
What if all I loved and so desperately needed in my life was suddenly gone? Had I appreciated these things and people enough?
I hadn’t. And that realization hit me harder than the impact of that fake-but-felt-very-real accident. Because so often I get wrapped up in myself, in what I need, in what I deserve, in how the people and things around me can bless me. Sometimes I get so caught up in my drama, my thoughts, my fears, my perspectives that I forgot how beautiful it is just to hug someone I care about. Or to tell someone I love those three little words.
Sometimes I forget how impermanent this life is, how fragile and breakable we are, how temporary our existence is. And sometimes I need a little reminder; we all need a little reminder.
So this is my reminder, your reminder, a reminder for all of us—what we have won’t last forever. Not these bodies. Not these homes. Not these cars. Not these shoes. Not these items we keep on a shelf or the projects we complete or the money we earn.
Nothing will last forever. Except the feelings we spread and the love we give.
So please, tell your loved ones you’re thinking about them. Tell people how you feel. Be raw and real with your emotion. Jump forward into passion projects and write, draw, sing, dance, create music, create art, create something meaningful that will continue to exist long after you leave. Embrace what you have and do not take it for granted.
Because we are not guaranteed our next day, next breath, next drive on a rain-soaked highway.
And I hope in this temporary life, you make every second count.