Carpe Diem, and All That Jazz

?I?m gonna phone everyone that I?ve known / Through the downs and the ups / And who I suspect have written me off / As an insensitive fuck / And say good luck / And goodbye…?

—Catherine Wheel

For the past couple of New Year?s Days, I?ve sent out e-mails to everyone I rarely touch base with. Old friends from high school, college, work, even elementary school.

This year, though, I didn?t.

Recent events (including my wedding) made me realize that, were I to e-mail all these friends and acquaintances to let them know how I?m doing, I would never really know whether it was appreciated. Half would never e-mail me back, some would respond with one ?thanks for the e-mail?things are the same as always with me? note, and only a very few would enter into a meaningful e-mail volley or start keeping in touch for real.

So, I decided to screw it this year. If they don?t care enough to e-mail *me* once in a while, I?ll be damned if I?m going to spend the time and effort to give them an update. Let them contact me for a change, if they give a rat?s @$$ about how I?m doing.

But, for once, a stupid forward actually made me stop and think:

[forward edited for God content, Forward-Me-Or-Else tags and cheesy one-liners]

This was written by an 83-year-old woman to her friend:

Dear Bertha,

I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time working.

Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom.

I wear my good blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries. I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank.

“Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I’m not sure what others would’ve done had they known they wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted. I think they would have called family members and a few close friends. They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for whatever their favorite food was.

I’m guessing; I’ll never know.

It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew my hours were limited. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, tell myself that it is special.

I never know when I might see any of these people again: they live in Carolina, or Chicago, or England, or Cincinnati, or Columbus, or Arizona, or I just never see them. (And they don?t seem to read my blog, either… which is unfortunate, because all of you are the real reason I keep this thing going, despite all my complaints about a lack of new traffic.) And, who knows? Maybe they need to be reminded that I?m thinking of them, for whatever reason.

So, I?m going to sit down and e-mail everybody. Maybe not all of you regulars?Beth, Erk, Sheryls, and Amy in particular?but I?m going to e-mail Colvey, and Timmay, and my Aunt Sammie, and Matt Mowry, and Pip, and Dan Work (who formerly lived in a tree), and Dan Clouse and Jessie Fleming from drumcorps, and my friend Christy from elementary school (if the e-mail I have still works), and Heather (Woodin) Marsh and Mary (Bindis) Franzosa from college, and Melody Marco and Andrea Stewart from high school band (and my wedding), and anyone else in my address book who jumps out at me. Then (horror of horrors!), I?m going to sit down and write real, honest-to-God handwritten letters to Carolyn (who doesn?t have e-mail access at home) and my cousin Michael (who lives in a group home).

There are a few people with whom I wish I hadn?t lost contact, or who I wish hadn?t broken contact with me, or whatever. I guess I?ll just have to remain curious about their whereabouts, and send them good vibes or something. So, to all of you folks in that category: I?m sorry I lost your email / pissed you off / really shouldn?t be talking to you at all, and I hope you?re doing well. If you happen upon my little blog, feel free to shoot me a line and let me know you?re OK.

To recap: why am I doing this again? Because I wish I?d written my Granny more often. Reading all the birthday cards and letters she sent when I was in Middle School, asking how I?m doing and begging me to write her, just tears me up inside now. Because I wish I?d gone to visit my stepdad Tom more often, and that I?d gotten to meet his fiancee, and gotten to see the farm he worked on before he died of a heart attack. And because I?m glad that wrote letters to my Memaw and went to visit her several times while she was still coherent and acting like herself, before she died of complications from lung cancer.

There are very few things I sincerely regret having done… or having not done. I?d rather not regret shirking something that would only have taken a few minutes of my time, and might have made all the difference to someone… even if just to myself.