Saturday, February 19, 2011

When you see a fork in the road, take it.

Thank goodness blogs don't require regular feeding/watering/exercise, or this little site of mine would be flickering dimly away to nothing. On Monday I was - or thought I was - all ready to scribble out a week's worth of witty posts, but then I got the sad news of a cousin's passing, and took a little perspective break for the rest of the week. You could say I've sort of had to pull over to the side of the information superhighway here, stop for a while, and look at just where the heck I'm headed, literally and philosophically. (But don't give me a GPS to tell me where to go - I want to map out my own route, and pretend I know where I'm going ahead of time!)

Sometimes I feel like I'm navigating one of those notorious roundabouts they have in New England, where a moment's indecision or uncertainty results in a missed turn and damns me to drive around again to get it right. If I'm lucky, I only need to go around a second time to get headed where I want - or need - to go. I get annoyed at myself for screwing up, but as long as I have enough gas and plenty of time to reach my destination, driving in circles and taking the scenic route is really no big deal in the grand scheme of things.

As time goes on, though, it seems more important to get things right, to not take any wrong turns enroute to doing and being what I have to do and be. My cousin's cancers manifested themselves suddenly, and he became so ill, so quickly, it was shocking. Until a few months ago there wasn't any reason to think he didn't have time to take his time getting wherever it was he was going. Isn't that what we all believe?

Leaving work yesterday, I heard someone singing that gawdawful Garth Brooks song, "If Tomorrow Never Comes," and in spite of my dislike for that kind of schmalz, I thought maybe the cosmos decided to put the song on my playlist to remind me that any one of us, at any time, could run out of tomorrows. I am beginning to feel a sense of urgency, not to cross things off my ever-growing To Do list, but to make sure that I have prioritized it, to make sure I do the important things. Yet while I struggle to keep friendships and relationships in good working order, I have to get my taxes done, pack for a conference, write a paper, and yes, even schedule a long-overdue physical for my own self, even though the thought that something more malignant than my hatred for Fox News could be manifesting itself makes me hyperventilate....

Not that I feel bad, mind you. Except for having "If Tomorrow Never Comes" stuck in my head now, I think I'm probably doing just fine. And if this post has put that tune in your heads now, I do sincerely apologize, and offer this antidote:

Now go blow your nose and tell someone you love them.


  1. intell, the last sentence is the crux of it all. The is the essence of the JJ household...we never part, or go a day without reminding one another of that. No matter what I have missed, or not done, or thought I should have done, that daily reminder trumps it all.

    I thought this was one of your better posts.

    Oh, and thank you whomever, that I have NEVER heard the Garth Brooks song...therefore it is not stuck in my brain.

  2. JJ, because I love you I won't refer you to the song on You Tube. (But that's not sayin' that someone else mightn't...)

    Thanks for your compliment & for coming by!

  3. Sorry about your cousin's passing, Intell. I knew something was amiss when you were absent from our cheery little blog world for so long. Once in a while I wonder if I will just suddenly drop dead or if I'll have painful months to think about it...

    I have never heard that Brooks song and you can't make me :-)

    It is so very good to see something you've written, I have missed it.

  4. Doug, I hope that you don't find out the answer to that quandary for a long, long time! :-)

  5. Great post. At nearly 70 I still don't think about "it" much. This is something that happens to other people. ; ) But I agree it's important to let people who we care about know we care about them - as often as possible and not with just words. Meanwhile, I'm so sorry about your cousin, Intell.

  6. Thanks, tnlib. I feel so bad for my cousin's brother, his wife & kids & grandkids, and especially for my aunt, his mom. I can't imagine the heartbreak of losing one's child, even if that child is 50-something.

    I have a feeling "it" won't know what it's in for when "it" finally -- a LONG, LONG time from now -- tries to catch up with you :-)

  7. This'll sound weird, but cancer is never far from my mind. It has stalked my Southern family like Sarah Palin stalks caribou--yeah, that bad. With a history like ours, the ONLY defense is to know thine enemy. Therefore, currently reading The Emperor of All Maladies. And recommending it as literature, as science, as weaponry.

    Powerful post and right on target for the topic of the fortnight at HT. Begging for a cross-post. Just do it.

  8. The round-a-bout is a great metaphor for reincarnation. Go around until you get it right. On the other hand, is there any such thing as "right"? Take time to smell the roses, it's the only thing we know is right.

  9. Nance, I know the feeling. I'll have to check out the book you mention.
    (And while this wasn't the post I was planning for HT, I'll gladly cross-post, no begging necessary!)

    Mr. C, I love the roundabout-reincarnation connection! And yes, doing the "right" thing isn't always the interesting thing, and there's a lot to be said for that!

  10. Thanks for sharing your thoughts intell, just what I needed reminding about, priorities. Great post.


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