Sometimes, something happens that yanks you back away from the petty drama of everyday life, makes you rethink things, makes you stop and see how you felt and how you are and realize that it’s not really important in the long run, that it’s not who you want to be.
For me, that something was the murder of a friend of mine.
Kat and I met years ago when we both worked for Verizon 411. Over the years, we hung out, had way too many good times to count….and then moved on with our lives and fell out of touch. No bad blood, our lives just moved in different directions, there were new jobs and new cities and new friends, and we didn’t really maintain contact.
I found out this morning that she’d died. At first, it didn’t really sink in. I thought that it must have been a mistake, that the woman in the newspaper article couldn’t be the same funny, outrageous Kat that I’d known. But more and more friends started mentioning it, word spread, and the likelihood that it wasn’t her depleted. I’ve felt like crying for most of the day, trying to push what happened to her out of my mind.
It really made me think about how short life is, and how people we love can be gone in an instant. It made me wonder why I was wasting time worrying over things that don’t really matter, why I had, all too recently, allowed a misunderstanding to screw up a really important friendship with someone I care about and why I was waiting to make it right (or try to), why I hold back and don’t say what I think or tell people how I feel.
On Saturday I heard a lot of talk about the end of the world. While I don’t believe Doomsday is looming, Kat’s death made me see all too clearly that the world could end for any one of us at any time. Why wait to say what we think, why hold back? I’m not trying to be paranoid or say that I’m terrified that people I love are going to die, but really, everyone will die from something, some day.
I don’t want to live with regrets. I’ve been lucky so far, I haven’t lost anyone close to me when we’ve been on bad terms. I honestly do believe that the closer you are to someone, the more their opinions matter and the more likely it is that someone’s going to irritate someone, and a fight’s going to break out. The mistake I’ve made is staying mad.
I suddenly feel like I’ve been given a totally different perspective, that I’m seeing things differently. I guess I took for granted that I’d have tomorrow to do the things I wanted to do. Tomorrow I’ll tell that person I love them. Tomorrow, I’ll explain what really happened and we’re going to sit and drink iced lattes and laugh about what a silly quarrel we had over it.
No, forget that. Today.
I hate cliches, but because I’m freshly grieving a lost friend I see some value in this one. Pretend there is no tomorrow. Don’t put off important things. Don’t waste your time. I’m not saying I’m going to pack it all in and spend my final days on a beach somewhere, because that’s silly. I’m going to go about my normal routine, go to work and pay bills and do all the things I normally do. I’ll spend time laughing with friends, snuggling my kitties, relaxing with Paul. I’ll tell the people who matter to me how I feel. I’m going to stop wasting my time on pettiness, on having the last word or the final say. It’s not worth it.
Life is way too short not to fill it with happiness.