I have to admit that I’m habitually late. For the most part, I do all right in getting to work on time (or almost on time!), but I’m one of those guys who seems to always be at least a few minutes behind when there’s a wedding to go to, a party, or a family gathering.
This has honestly always bothered me. I’ve worked hard to build up habits that will get me where I need to be on time and to drop those bad habits that get in the way of timeliness. I’ve met with some success over the years, but the underlying issue of tardiness has stuck with me.
I’m getting a little introspective here, but I believe all this may be due to some inner rebellion against society. Call it my own little revolution against the man. I just want to do my own thing without having to worry about some arbitrary set of rules imposed by someone else.
This sounds a bit childish, I’m sure. Like most people, I definitely see the value in being on time. It’s essential to be on time or early to a job interview. There are also other situations where it’s vital to be on time (like, catching a plane). Being habitually late is generally considered a sign that a person isn’t dependable, too. This can be a difficult label to overcome once it’s applied.
There is also a bright side to being late, though. It occurred to me recently that many times when I’ve been late, there has definitely been a reason. I’m almost always doing something that is valuable to me, something that is, in that moment, far more important than whatever it is I might be rushing out to do. In fact, there’s a huge opportunity cost in stressing yourself to always be on time.
Thinking back, there have been many times I’ve taken just a few extra moments to enjoy that last sip of excellent coffee, a few more words of conversation with a loved one or a good friend, another long hug and “I love you” from one of my children, or a few minutes more of closeness with someone I love. How can you place a value on these precious moments?
These are the times that will be most important to you when you look back on your life. No one is going to eulogize you and say how great you were because you were always on time. No one will wipe away a tear and comment on your excellent punctuality. However, many will remember those precious few moments that you spent with them, doing something you love with someone you love.