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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Back From the Almost Dead

When one has been absent from the blogosphere as long as I have, readers usually start to wonder, “Is he all right? I hope nothing’s happened, etc.” Eventually, someone will send an email of inquiry and concern, and express a wish that I get my butt back in here.

This time was different. First of all, I’ve had so many extended absences by now that, when I disappear, people have stopped wondering—not to mention the fact that there aren’t many left that would care anyway, given my many lengthy departures from this space (with the welcome exception of the intrepid Frank Paynter, who has just dropped an email, bless his heart).

A ho-hum factor inevitably begins to take hold.

Secondly, THIS time, I wasn’t all right. A scary brush with the Reaper and all that. I’m not going to bore people with the details except to say that one of my main arteries to the heart showed up 95% blocked. A scary ride that I hope will never repeat itself. But who knows?

The cardiologist blithely threw out the observation, “Wow! This one’s usually fatal. You’re a lucky sonuvagun." Wow, indeed.

I’ve been blessed with a youthful appearance and attitude. But the interior organs and pipes, and the family genes, are not fooled. They are beginning to do what they tend to do after seven decades--and in my family, usually before then.

I’ve eaten healthy, low-fat foods for over twenty years, stopped smoking thirty-five years ago, walked vigorously for over a mile every day, or nearly so, but the genes and the passage of time are what they are.

The life-saving (at least for the time being) repairs have been made and I’m now feeling fine. But the new reality is that I’ll spend the rest of my life with a bottle of nitro tablets within reach at all times—always with the hope that the other shoe doesn’t drop, but being forced to accept the fact that it could at any moment.

Hard to believe, given my devotion to living a healthy life style. But this IS what is—and I learned a long time ago that what is is, and what isn’t isn’t, and that’s pretty much all you need to know to keep your mental balance. To take a Rabbi Hillel quotation out of context, "everything else is just commentary."

One is supposed to have life-changing epiphanies after such brushes with oblivion—new insights on what you’re going to do with the rest of your life; new realizations about your life’s purpose, and so on.

None of that has happened to me to any dramatic extent. The skies have not opened up.

A few things, though, have surfaced. For starters, I’d like to give the blog another shot—even though the blogosphere is so different now—and I mean that in the negative sense--from when I first started out back in early ’02.

I’m not sure it’s worth the bother any more. But the isolation’s no fun either, so I’ll see what I can do with this baby. If nobody comes back to it, at least I’ll have the satisfaction of having not quit prematurely.

I scoot over to Paynter's blog and right there at the top is a quote from Dervala about her recent absence from blogging that puts my little whine about the same subject to shame. God, can that gal write! Another one of my lost conncetions that I used to enjoy in my fertile earlier blogging period. Thanks, Frank, for the re-connect.

Another desire has come through clear as a bell: to give my wife, Jill, whatever assistance I can in expanding her business. She’s a tremendous resource for parents—and for people in troubled relationships. Her skills deserve a wider audience, and there’s an audience out there—if they can be reached--that would welcome her skills.

The power of the internet and teleconferencing could help her broaden that reach. I intend to help her get there.

First step was to set up a web site—albeit rudimentary, it’s a start. Next step is to attend a Business Development Intensive with Super-Coach Melanie Benson Strick. Jill and I have signed up as a partnership so that we can function as a team and get aligned on a vision and a plan of action -- transforming this whole thing from wish list and good idea to concrete reality.

As for the blog, I’m starting by switching to what I hope is a more visually appealing format. Unfortunately, I completely overlooked the fact that when I switched templates, I would lose my blogroll and other links. Ouch! How unconscious can you be? But--in my defense--I have been distracted, no?

Anyway, to all those great bloggers to whom I was linked, I haven’t forgotten you. Your links will be back up in due course.

Maybe I’ll join the 21st Century and start posting the occasional photograph, now that Blogger has enabled it. And to get me back in touch with the blogger I once was, I think I’ll borrow a page from what I’ve observed some other bloggers doing—anniversary posts—e.g.,“on this day last year, two years ago, three years, etc”.—not every old post, but maybe some of the better ones.

My long absence resulted in the inevitable comment spam that befalls neglected blogs. I should have known better. I’ve tried to clean out some of the crap, but the good ones are gone forever.

It’s a sad loss to no longer have all the wonderful comments that people have posted here over the years. To my mind, it was at least two-thirds of what made the blog worthwhile. I can never adequately express how thrilled I was to get the number of quality comments that I received from a whole variety of fabulous bloggers.

For the time being, I'll have to settle for Blogger's comments. Later this week. I'll see if I can get Haloscan back. I much preferred it.

It’s good to be back, and especially good to feel the warm breath still coming out of this old mouth, and the still-nimble fingers tapping the keyboard.