Forward Living: No time like now to (re)learn life’s lessons

I arranged to meet my son Greg at the baggage claim area when I landed in San Francisco. While intently searching the conveyer belt for my luggage, I had one eye out for Greg. I spotted my luggage, but was startled by the tall, handsome man who tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Mom!” With a shock of recognition, I threw my arms around Greg and started jumping up and down. (I tend to do that when I’m excited.)

A repeat performance in Oregon: At the baggage claim, I spotted this very good-looking, bearded man smiling and coming toward me. It took a moment to recognize my younger son, Jeff. Then all hell broke loose: I sprinted to meet him and was caught in a big bear hug. That’s when I noticed something that blew my mind. Not only had Jeff grown a beard since I saw him last, there was gray in it!

Celia Iannelli
Celia Iannelli

There is something to be said about not seeing one’s kids for six months. Methinks I’ve become immune to the laws of time. In my “Mom’s” eye, they are as they were back then.

Time seems to pass quickly, don’t you think? And, sometimes, we don’t fully realize it until we are brought up short. I can’t wrap my brain around the fact that Frank will be dead a year in April. Where did that year go? For me, it passed in a fog of incredible pain and loss: the loss of love, dreams and a way of life. Thankfully, when the world went dark, my indomitable spirit and my faithful companion, hope, kept the lights on.

How many of the 365 days that comprise a year do we spend on nonsense? For instance: The “he said/she said” stuff that drives us to distraction or the insults, real or imagined, that we hurl at each other. How about the stupid stuff one writes on Facebook to antagonize other folks? It’s Facebook, for heaven’s sake!

How much time do we spend arguing with a spouse or significant other — especially when it’s the same argument that’s been revisited ad nauseam? Somebody has to give it up!

Frank and I were compatible in most ways; however, driving together was always an issue. Frank was a slow driver and I’m a bit of a lead-foot! Hyperventilating while cars passed us on the expressway, oftentimes I uttered a snarky remark. I should have just sat back, shut up and enjoyed the ride. Today, I would eat those unkind comments, word by word, if I could.

We spend years hanging on to bitterness and anger — so much so that we identify with our indignation. Think about it: If we relinquish our negative feelings and there is nothing to identify with anymore, who would we be?

Many folks waste time and energy on dead-end relationships. Usually it’s a push-pull type of thing. The person wreaking havoc will start out by pursuing relentlessly. The unsuspecting partner will feel flattered — and just when the person on the receiving end starts to feel secure, the pursuer wields the “wrecking ball,” leaving destruction and devastation in its wake. The pursuer is filled with remorse and rushes back in to try to make up for the bad behavior. The offended party typically gives in; but invariably the cycle begins again. I don’t get it! Perhaps for some misery becomes a comfortable dwelling place.

Back then, it seemed as though life contained an endless supply of days. But in reality the “eternal now” is all that we’re guaranteed. We shouldn’t wait for tragedy to upend our world to consider how precious and scarce a commodity time is.

Life has its own timeline and is a great teacher — as long as we get the lesson. However, sometimes the lesson has to be learned again and again. Folks, I speak from the heart; I’ve learned my lesson, for the second time. At least, I hope so!

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.