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Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Anti-planner

Posted June 28, 2020 9:00 p.m. EDT

WRAL reporter Amanda Lamb with her daughters

It’s funny how birthdays start to mean less and less as you get older, barely a blip on the radar screen, with the exception of your sweet friends and family who send you kind notes and messages on Facebook.

But this year, my pandemic birthday is causing more reflection than in years past. I think the last few months have caused a lot of us to rethink, reevaluate, and reassess our place in the world. Never before has the expression "life is short" been more apropos. I would add to that: life as we know it is short.

Given this universal truth that we now know for sure is for real, “What are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?” The poet Mary Oliver asks us this question. It’s a question I’ve been pondering lately. The future is uncertain for all of us, and given that, the time to decide is now.

So, how do you plan when you don’t know for sure if your children will go back to school, go back to college, if you will ever go back to the office, or to a sporting event, a concert, or on a trip? My answer: You don’t. How can this be? Is a self-diagnosed master life planner telling you not to plan? That’s right. Instead, do whatever it is you want to do right now.

The other day the assistant at my dentist’s office asked me to schedule my next appointment six months out. I laughed and said: “Sure, why not. Who knows where I’ll be then, but let’s go for it anyway! You are quite the optimist.”

I’m not being negative—actually, quite the opposite. I’m saying live the life you want to live in this very moment. We can’t control the future. The funny thing is that we never could. But now we know this for sure. So, get on with it.

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.