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Hey you! Yes, you. What are you waiting for?

I would wager a guess that you are waiting for COVID to retreat for good and get your life back to normal — whatever normal means. Good luck with that!

Ah, me. We spend a good portion of our lives waiting, don’t you think? Most times we see life happening in the future. It’s scary to see how much life we project there.

When I was a kid, my life revolved around waiting for school to end to enjoy those care-free summer days. During my early teens, I waited for a certain Elvis look-alike to notice me — and he finally did; Dad noticed him too. But that’s for another column. Suffice to say Dad was less than thrilled.

During my middle teens I waited for that special birthday to take a driver’s test. My driver’s license brought me the ticket to the freedom that I coveted — away from Dad’s prying eyes. The license would eventually take me to “were the boys are,” as Connie Frances aptly crooned. For me, it was Wildwood New Jersey with my best friend Bev. Those were the days my friends, for sure.

Was I content? Maybe. But, after the graduation kudos, I worked hard to begin a career in health care. But love threw a monkey wrench into my plans. I put my career on hold, married and within a couple of years had a growing family.

My two sons were and still are my heart, yet I was ambitious, I wanted both: career and family. I began a juggling act that would be the envy of circus jugglers.

Back then, stay-at-home moms outnumbered the “jugglers.” Thankfully, my first husband, now deceased, was a forward-thinking man who supported my ambitions. He too was in the minority. Those of us who juggled family and career were the unsung heroes of our time.

Although I was adept at juggling, it took its toll. I couldn’t wait for my kids to go off to college. The music, noise, friends coming and going could get on a mother’s last nerve. When they chose out-of-town colleges, I was delighted but, it didn’t last long. The house became eerily quiet. Can you believe I waited, not so patiently, for them to come home on breaks?

Fast forward 10 years.

Much to my surprise, my kids heeded my advice to live their own lives. They did — and moved to California. Good lord! Instead of juggling, I had to master the good-bye thing, which goes like this:

As soon as I return from a visit, I immediately book my next flight. I am packed and ready to go a week prior to my departure. It is the reverse scenario when my California family flies east. I wait and mark off my calendar in red. When my son noticed my “kindergarten” calendar, his eyes glistened with tears. He said: “Aw Mom, we miss you too.”

Since the arrival of my two grand-babies Luca and Nova Malia, waiting is becoming harder — and COVID hasn’t helped.

Humans are funny creatures. We think the next moment, the next thing, the next year, more money, more prestige the next happening is what we are reaching for. We live from summit to summit, forgetting and missing the beauty of ordinary life.

Waiting is the in-between time of life. It calls us to live in the moment. For me, learning to wait is challenging. Patience is not my strong point; it is uncomfortable and frustrating. Like some of you, I want it — and want it now!

Don’t you wish the presidential election were yesterday? Waiting for Nov. 3 has set this country on edge. We wait to hear if the candidate we hold near and dear to our hearts will win. Maybe for some it’s not going to happen; maybe it will.

I recently read this gem from T.S. Eliot that prompted this column: “a lifetime burning in every moment.” As the words sank in, it felt like I was being shaken awake by an unseen force. I thought: Life with a capital L is now.

Yes, things are not ideal. We still have personal challenges, in addition to COVID. To allow waiting to become a habit is an excessive folly. Life is happening now — a new life is incubating within us now.

Carly Simon’s song “Anticipation” pretty much sums it up: “And I wonder if I’m really with you now or chasing after some finer day.”

We can wait in the dark waiting room of life; or walk on into the light.

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Celia Marszal-Iannelli
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.