Need to know

One of the other teachers at SA got caught in the rash of airline bankruptcies–s/he and family were stranded by their carrier and had to pay a scary amount of money to fly home from their “budget” vacation.  “I’m trying to see where the lesson in it is,” the teacher said, but s/he was having trouble coming up with one (perhaps because there isn’t one aside from the one my grandmother would have come up with, which is “Stay home, better”). 

I’m thinking about lessons, too, because a person I liked died recently, suddenly and at a much too young age.  When such a tragedy happens, it’s natural, I guess, to look for lessons in it, and they are not hard to find:  Appreciate life.  Don’t take your good health for granted.  Show your family and friends your love for them.  Live the way you want to be remembered (our friend was really good at that).  And life can be terribly harsh sometimes.  (I hate that last one.)

But the one that is really resonating with me is this: Don’t assume that there will be another chance.  I’ve missed opportunities to visit this person and hir family while I was traveling because it wasn’t convenient for one or the other of us and/or I was short on time and/or money.  As a result, I haven’t seen them recently, and now I am commiserating from afar.  I wish we’d had one more chance to be together for a happy time.  I have other happy times to remember, of course, but if I’d made the time then, I would be thankful for it now.

This is all making me regret my decision not to attend a friend’s wedding four states away.  It would have been massively inconvenient, expensive, tiring and burdensome for Stubb and the Snork Maiden, which is why I decided not to go.  (I did make it to a bridal shower semi-locally, and am glad about that.)  Maybe it was the right decision under the circumstances, but I still regret it. 

Friend of Long Standing says that with weddings, you rarely regret going, and you always regret not going.  Maybe that’s true of visiting friends as well.  I can think of a few visits which I convinced myself would be fun, but by the end of which I was ready to chew off my own leg to escape.  But I usually have an inkling in advance it might be like that.  And most of the time I’m really, really glad I made the effort.

I’m going to see quite a few people this summer that I want to make time to see.  I’ll see Pym Fan, I hope (I’m sure we can work out a plan), and a bunch of family members and some friends in the area where I’ll be at a conference.  But I’ve been saying for years now I want to visit my Rocky Mountain aunt and my friends in the Northwest.  Other people, too.  I know you can’t do everything, but as a wise friend said to me when the Snork Maiden was a baby and I was always showing up for the last third of parties and then leaving early when the baby started to cry: “Some is better than none.”  I think I’d like to do some more.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Pym Fan on April 14, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    That feeling of chances that might never come again is currently making me agonize over my upcoming college reunion. Going to it would be expensive and inconvenient, and I’m not sure there would even be many people I’d want to hang out with there (except Friend of Long Standing, whom I haven’t seen in years, so that would be fun). But I find myself fearing that if I DON’T go, I’ll regret it… My lazy side says, “Eh, wait 10 or 20 years–there’ll be other reunions.” But who knows where any of us will be in 10 or 20 years…


  2. Posted by meansomething on April 20, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Of course, it costs me nothing to encourage you to go…but I think you should go.


  3. Posted by FLS on May 13, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Hey PymFan! YOU SHOULD COME! When I went ten years ago it was just because I wanted to see what it was like. Remember that button that said, “Don’t die wondering?” Yeah, that. I wound up having such a lovely time that I now go every five years. It’s the architecture and air quality as much as the people — the sense memory of an earlier time in life is truly reinvigorating. See you there?


  4. […] deserve to do things that I know matter, like seeing people I care about, without feeling guilty about taking time away from the jobs that I am, after all, performing with […]


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