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Make meaning

We've just experienced a once-in-a-lifetime event. Yesterday's date, February 2, 2020, is called a global palindrome day. No matter which way you express it numerically -- month/day/year; day/month/year; year/day/month -- it reads the same backwards as it does forwards. It's a numerical palindrome.

Because it doesn't happen often, people are inclined to ascribe significance to it, or make it mean something. That is what we humans do. We are meaning makers. Whether it's a number or a black cat crossing your path or finding a four-leaf clover, we make meaning.

Ever since my mother died, whenever I see a hawk, I always think she's nearby and watching over me. I can't say why or how that started but it seems to me that whenever I'm yearning for my mother's advice or just her company, I see a hawk. So, now, whether it is soaring high above, or streaking across the road right in front of my windshield, seeing a hawk comforts me, reassures me, so I can take a breath and move on. Making meaning.

We do this all the time. Sometimes meaning is shared -- superstitions, religious shrines, secret handshakes -- and sometimes it's personal like my hawk sightings. Maybe you see butterflies and you think of a loved one. Maybe you put your socks on a certain way before a competition. Maybe you realize you're driving on Route 124 at 1:24 pm on December 4th and you play that number -- 124. Making something meaningful.

It's what we humans do. It isn't the actual thing that is meaningful. That's really not what matters at the end of the day: It's what you make of it. It's what you do with it. So if something sets off a little happiness alarm or a significance strike in your head, pay attention and make the most of it.

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