I've been thinking a lot about the Undo key lately. It's a pretty powerful command that has bailed me out of more deep technological holes than I dare admit. On my Mac, hitting Command-Z lets me undo whatever mistakes I made. It gives me the ability to go back in time and pretend I never made the mistake in the first place. Then I can rewrite the moment as I had originally intended.
Pretty powerful stuff. I only wish it worked beyond the context of my laptop.
See, last Tuesday was a pretty charmed day in my life. I had scheduled a quick drive into Toronto to join NewsTalk 1010's Round 2 panel with morning show host John Moore. I've been actively working on growing my media brand and doing new and neat stuff on-air, and this was a perfect opportunity to meet the folks I've worked with remotely for so long, and see the new studios. I booked some meetings, as well, which made for a very early, very long, very challenging and ultimately very exciting morning.
I also arranged to meet a radio host from the Kitchener-Waterloo region who I've worked with for years but had never actually met. He has been a mentor figure to me since the first time he had me on his show, and I was looking forward to finally putting a face to the voice. I was going to pop off the highway on the way back to London, and we'd meet for an early afternoon bite and then chat for a bit.
Unfortunately, I got a call after I was done doing the radio thing. A big tech story was breaking, and the folks at CTV wanted to know if I could comment. Given how close I was to CTV's national studios, I detoured there to do another quick interview (or two, or...) before heading home. Of course, all this took time, and it meant I'd have to postpone meeting my friend on the drive home.
The CTV experience was surreal. I met the team that turns my random ramblings into great television, and got to work out of the best equipped newsroom in the country. The most amazing thing was that folks who I've admired pretty much forever knew who I was. It was the kind of day that reminded me how lucky I am. It may not be an easy trek to carve out a career in the middle of today's media landscape, but Tuesday's experience sure reinforced that I'm on the right track.
My friend was understanding, and sent me a quick return message that I picked up on my smartphone just as I was about to go on-air again: "No worries...next time."
Fast forward a week and I get another message from him: "We should have had that lunch. Instead, I had a heart attack." He was in hospital, awaiting surgery, which by my watch is scheduled to begin in a little over a couple of hours.
Cardiac care being what it is in this country, I expect him to pull through with flying colours - but feel free to join me in a prayer or nine if you wish, because you can never get enough - but the sequence continues to play in my mind: Life happened and I had to shift gears. Work took precedence over personal. I get that. He gets that. We all get that. But still the thought remains: We didn't have that lunch, and then this happened. This happened.
I've had a this happen to me, and I appreciate the immediate sense of regret that washes over you as you think about all the things you didn't get to do, then the followup sense of fear that you won't get a second chance to actually do those things you haven't yet done.
I had the moment in my grasp, and I chose to let it go - a choice I wish I could now undo. Problem is there's no Undo key for this one. Only a yet-to-be-written script for my friend's story that I hope has a happy ending. Because lunch with him is something I can't wait to experience.
Refuah shlemah...only in health.