It matters now
The past six months have been heavily weighted on the loss side of the scale. I'll not enumerate who or why here; that's not the point. The point is regret.
Following these losses, I'm left with -- aside from sadness, shock, and disbelief -- an overwhelming sense of regret. Sometimes, this regret stems from what I've said, but I can more often trace it back to what I left unsaid. I didn't tell them what they meant to me, because did the opinion of one person matter to them? I'd mention it when it came up. When it mattered.
Well, it's too late. It will always be too late with that rationale.
It matters now.
To my family
I haven't deserved your love and support for as long as I've had it. In fact, I probably have only started to earn it rather recently. Someone should hold your capabilities for patience, tolerance, and forgiveness up as a template for families and warring nations alike. You stood by me when there was no light, and helped me even when I resented it. I still may not be able to understand the idea of unconditional love and accept it at all times, but it's comforting to know that it's there.
To my friends
You have shown me how to live -- and what that means! The conversations we've had rank up with some of my most prized experiences. Over brunch, we've talked about everything from new legislation to new albums. Lunch brought up recipes and sustainability. With dinner came cognitive theory, art history, and plans for the future. When drinks rolled around, well, we discussed wine and mixology. I've learned so much from you. I know that my schedule is crazy, and I often go too long without seeing you, but you're always with me.
To my mentors
I've gotten better about thanking you, I think, though I still slip up sometimes. I can trace every one of my past accomplishments to you. I never would have made it this far in life and work without you. My mentors at Bryn Mawr and UMBC opened my eyes to the beauty of computer science and gave me the opportunities to see its capabilities firsthand. My mentors at work have helped me navigate the waters of this amazing career, and given me fantastic guidance on work, life, and everything in between. You all are irreplaceable.
It matters now
One of my most prized possessions is a handwritten note that was hastily shoved under my dorm room door the weekend that I graduated. Confused, I opened the door and saw someone running away. It was from a student that I had TA'd in an intro-level computer science class. Despite thinking that she rocked and would do well in the field, I encouraged her to follow something else that clearly interested her more. This note thanked me for my time and guidance. I don't even have to take it out anymore; I am happy just thinking about it.
Expect more notes of thanks and compliments coming your way. Expect me to look embarrassed as I deliver them. Expect me to tell you exactly why you are awesome, even if you have no idea who I am. Hopefully I can bring a smile to your face too.
It always matters. Even more, it matters now.