So I'd been waiting until Inauguration Day to write, thinking that I'd post about hope being stronger than fear (it was a good line from Obama's speech, I thought) and the groundswell of optimism that has awoken in our country and how good it all made me feel. All that's true, and I thought it'd make a good post.
I find myself writing a totally different sort of post.
In the last couple of days, I've had some losses and a (rather large) scare. Fear not, all is well with Mockingbird and those who encircle her nest. But it served as a king-sized wake-up call.
Years back, I read a story about people whose lives had been deeply affected by a brass plaque in a beautiful walled garden in China. The characters on the plaque read "It is later than you think." At the time, I thought it was a rather neat story, with random people being brought together by the bit of Eastern wisdom and thinking to myself, "Ahh. How very wise."
It means something different now.
It really IS later than you think. And if you allow yourself to get caught up in the minutiae of life (in my case, grading and a high degree of fretting over not getting more done - I haven't answered enough e-mails, I haven't checked in on my students often enough, I haven't researched enough, I haven't read enough, et freaking cetera), you're going to wake up and discover that there are some very important things you haven't done. I'm not talking about "100 Places to See Before I Die" sorts of things; I mean things that are actually important.
Like what? Well, how about this -
Forgive someone. Tell a friend that they matter. Dare to be wonderful. And, for the love of God, don't wait to tell someone that you love them.
It's later than you think.