Time is relative

As I sit on bed I look across the room at the large orange suitcase.

It is packed.

From Florida. So more aptly it is still packed.

I’ve noticed that it takes about the length of the trip for me to motivate to unpack. Perhaps this has to do with the volume of luggage, but I don’t think so. Its just one of those time is relative things.

Five day trip, five days to unpack.

Two week trip, two weeks to unpack.

I think you understand the math.

Another rule that seems to hold true is breakup recovery. I’ve found that it takes half the length of the relationship to really get over the breakup.

My first real boyfriend took 4 months to get over. Which didn’t mean I sat home washing my hair, just that I wasn’t ready to settle in with anyone else until those endless four months had eked by.

It took four years for me to start a relationship with Steve after my first husband. But the clock started when I moved out, not once the paperwork was filed.

I’ve done the math for lots of friends and it usually turns out to be true. Although you have to take care to pinpoint the breakup. You can be emotionally gone before you literally go.

It seems to take 1/2 as long to eat a meal as to prep it, and three times as long to clean it up. This is part of why cooking seems inefficient to me. Unless you get real pleasure in the planning, cooking and cleaning the time in is totally not worth the time chewing. I

l’ll get take out. Or marry Steve. Or on really good days, both.

This last one is one I question, and maybe I have written about it before. A friend brought it up on a walk as if it were a well accepted fact. He says it is socially acceptable to date someone half your age plus seven years. I think there is a gender bias on this one. He is perfectly comfortable dating a “woman” in her mid twenties. When I try to switch it around, after fumbling with the math for a bit I ask if he would date a woman in her fifties. He does a good job of masking the flicker in his eye before he manages: I think with the right person that would work.

If I were dating a 27 year old a lot of eyebrows would be raised. Most of all mine. If my mom were dating a 40 year old those family dinners would be so awkward that I might just end up doing the dishes. Or upstairs unpacking my suitcase, from the trip that I took with the 27 year old. In that case I wonder, who would have cooked?

Do you have any time is relative revelations to add? What about your dating age range. Seem right?

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Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

10 thoughts on “Time is relative”

  1. I read this post yesterday and thought…hmmm…an interesting question, especially when considering the role reversal, older woman/younger man. This morning, while cleaning the counters, my computer calendar alerted me that tomorrow is my baby brother’s birthday, he will be 43 and I was reminded that his fiancĂ© just turned 31, putting them just outside this mathematic dating equation. My brother’s fiancĂ© is a lovely young woman, intelligent, funny, kind, thoughtful, a wonderful stepmother to his daughter from his first marriage and an equally wonderful mother to the daughter they share. In addition she is a fun-loving aunt to all of the nieces and nephews she inherited when joining our loud family.

    Despite all of these attributes, it never escapes my attention that she is in fact young enough to be my daughter (or I am old enough to be her mother!) her age puts her smack in between me and my daughter and she is closer in age to my oldest nephews than she is to myself or any of my siblings (including my brother). And while all this age nonsense does make me at times feel awkward around this lovely young woman, I have come to realize that the “problem” is mine. I need to get over the age barrier and be better to my almost sister-in-law because I realize when I tick off her attributes they are many and my brother has in many ways hit the partnership jack-pot this time around. I doubt he could do any better in selecting a life partner than he has with Shannon and I know he could do much worse — see the previous marriage mentioned above.

    So while I don’t have any witty stories to share, I will thank you for allowing me to ramble about this relative topic. Your thoughts have given me time to reflect, now I just need to learn to act on the reflection.

  2. And I unpack before going to bed that first night after vacation (even if I get home after midnight) and I even unpack for a one night stay in a hotel…but for me, relationships are at once over and never gotten over. Should I be proud that I don’t speak to a single ex boyfriend (except one) or should I break my silence, walk over to the corner of my memory where the orange suitcase of our past seems to lurk, bursting with dirty laundry?

    If I’ve unpacked my bags, is the vacation over? Are the memories worse than the experiences we had on the beach?

    1. Gorgeous. Maybe the quick unpacking and the never looking back at relationships are two sides of the same coin? Could be a sign of staying in the moment- really living. Or maybe there is a bit of you you don’t want to see again. In any case, beautifully said…and maybe I’ll use this as inspiration to unpack today. Maybe.

  3. This is a post that requires more time for though tthan I have tonight. BUT. I always seemed to date younger and that was ok with me. My first and now last husband is 3 years older. But I never expected him to turn back up. I expected I’d remarry a younger, African American. True dat.

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