Some days you just wish you’d stayed in bed. I thought about that yesterday as I lay bleeding. But I remained happy with my decision to step forward when others would not. It’s a rare thing for me to have time to just contemplate my circumstances, but as I lay bleeding I was given that time. So as I waited for attention from whoever passed by, I took the time to take stock of myself.
What would I do better if I had a second chance?
My time management sucks. I would take control of my time much earlier in my life. I have started to get a handle on it. Unfortunately it doesn’t need a handle, it needs a series of stainless steel shackles around the perimeter and some lengths of chain tethered to large pieces of nearby real estate.
I would tell my friends that I love them. The ones that are still around know it now, but some are gone forever and since I plan on living to be 120 years old, it’ll be quite a while before I get to tell them.
I would never let myself become the physical wreck I am currently repairing. Neglect is the enemy of everything. Just like an car uncared for becomes a rusty unreliable wreck, the human body ignored also seeks equilibrium in the valleys of poor health. I’m sure the effort I didn’t give over the past 2 decades is going to require me to remain out of my comfort zone for at least 2 years.
I learned a lot from my father when he was alive. I wish I had talked to him more. I am fortunate that I saw through my mother all of the positive aspects of raising a family and participating in a community. Through my father I saw many of the things that I know should be avoided to lead a satisfying life. During the part of my life when I was being bombarded with Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar, Og Mandino and friends I remember 2 things above all else: “learn from mistakes, just make them other peoples” and every metaphor that is a simile of “the cup is half full”. I wish my father was still alive to talk to. I am sure there is still more I could learn from him, even if only by exclusion.
What would I leave unchanged in a repeat of my life?
My mother is proud of me. I was brought up right and I live the kind of life that my mother is happy to be associated with. That’s one vote I always need.
My wife and children love me. If I had nothing else in the world, a hug and a smile from these 4 people would keep me alive indefinitely.
My friends can trust and rely on me. I say yes. A lot. That can be bad for me, and is one of the major hurdles to my time management problem. But I deliver. If I say yes, I’m good for it.
With my personal inventory done, I continue to bleed.
As all these thoughts settled quietly into the back of my mind the music from my MP3 player came back into my awareness. I let the music surround me and carry me. I was jolted awake by a hand and a voice, “Are you all right?” “Huh, yeah, I think so. Why?” I’ll leave the conversation there, apparently I was singing along to the music only I could hear. As luck would have it, the woman who roused me back from the edge was a nurse. For those of you concerned for my health, I reassure you that my contemplation time came while I was donating blood, not dying on the side of the road.
Here’s a photo to prove that even in the southern hemisphere some things are reassuringly constant. We may have summer in December. The water swirls the other way down the drain. But blood is still red.