Forward Living: Why can’t time just make up its mind?

05/30/2011 12:49 PM |

It’s been a year since Frank had a routine stress test that landed him in the hospital. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery (on our sixth wedding anniversary, no less) and suffered a myriad of health challenges. Nowadays, Frank is ready for an Olympic tryout, and I’ve tendered my resignation as chief of the health police. Folks, it was a stressful and exhausting job.

Once, when Frank fell asleep on the couch, I panicked, shook him awake and screeched, “Don’t you ever do that again!”

Frank groggily asked, “Sleep?”

See what I mean? Last summer was the pits. Time seemed to stand still, yet the rest of the year flew by.

Isn’t time tricky? The American author Henry Van Dyke thinks so, too. He writes, “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”

When we were kids, September marked the beginning of a long, tedious school year. Summer felt like it was eons away and, on a kid’s timetable, it was.

Gals, remember prom mania? An eternity, and then some, passed while waiting for our heartthrob to call. Unbeknownst to us, our heartthrob picked up the phone 200 times and put it down 200 times — just waiting for the right time to invite us.

During our early teens, turning 18 was light years away. That magical number held the promise of a driver’s license and freedom. Or so we thought. Then, the hard edges of reality came into play and we joined in life’s waiting game.

Generally, pregnancies last nine months; however, most gals will attest to these truths: It felt like a lifetime before Baby was born. Moreover, the ninth month felt like two lifetimes. And after Baby is born, Mommy, Daddy and Baby are awake at all hours of the night. Those baby-crying sleep-deprived times appeared to last forever.

Then there are the things that brought us to our knees: the death of a loved one, the betrayal of a friend or a divorce. The pain was incessant and we wondered if there would be an end to our suffering.

Conversely, some of us are at a stage in life when time is speeding up. A dear friend recently marked a “big” birthday. She couldn’t believe how much life she’d already lived, and I fully get it.

My kids are grown men, yet Mom-brain still conjures up two little boys. Frank and I just celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary (thankfully, not in the hospital). How can that be?

I’ve always been the proverbial party gal. I’m surprised when the witching hour arrives and it’s time to call it a night; furthermore, I’m more surprised that I’m not tired!

The time spent with my kids, who live on the West Coast, has a dizzying effect — and it’s not just jet lag. One day I’m on a plane heading west, then in a flash, I’m on a plane heading east.

Here are some puzzling observations: When we can’t wait for something, it takes forever; and when we dread something, it knocked on our door yesterday. Doesn’t the gate in the airport seem further away when we’re running late and closer when we’re early? One summer seems to morph into another, though it takes the same 365 days.

And here’s a biggie: Bob Dylan turned 70 on May 24. Jeez! Where did the time go?

To answer my own question, the time didn’t go anywhere; nor does it pass quickly or slowly — it simply passes. I suppose we interpret time through our own lens, and still, everything that happens takes place in the eternal now. Bewildering, huh?

You’d think with all the technical advances, a savvy computer programmer like Mark Zuckerberg, who with some buddies created Facebook, hasn’t fashioned a program that could fast-forward through the hard times and pause the good times.
I’m just sayin’.

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.