My BFF gave me this great little plaque that pretty much summarizes my life: Is running late considered cardio? Ahhh, if only that was the case. If I could either make money or lose weight by running late, then I’d be an exceptionally rich and skinny woman.
I wasn’t always this way. I was brought up to be punctual. To not only be on time, but be early to any event, appointment, or activity. To plan ahead and pad my time to NOT be late. Somewhere along the way, as I’ve gotten older, that skill has slipped away. Certainly not on purpose.
I don’t want to consistently be late. I value other peoples’ time, and whenever I’m going to be more than 5 minutes late for any appointment, I call to let them know, and of course apologize profusely. I, just like anyone, hate to be kept waiting for more than a few minutes, so the fact that I’m usually delaying others creates a horrible conflict in my psyche.
I’ve determined that many of us Real Women run late not because we don’t know how to tell time, and not because we don’t care to be punctual, and not even because we don’t know how to plan. It is simply because we are trying in vain to master the art of packing far too much stuff into any 24-hour period. It doesn’t matter whether we are at home, at work, or even on vacation. We are always attempting to fit the proverbial 10 pounds of anything into a 5-pound bag. Or, more accurately phrased in this case, trying to fit 10 hours into 5 minutes.
At work, I’ll try to knock out one more project, or answer one more email, before the next meeting, or before leaving for the day…then it grows into more, and soon I’m rushing out the door. At home on the weekends, I always have illusions of grandeur of fitting in far too many chores and activities into two days. It works on paper, or in my head in the mornings, but reality never quite matches my imaginary schedule. Unfortunately for my son, he is now realizing that mom and dad will generally run a few minutes late picking him up from any activity. Which, depending on the circumstances is apparently immensely embarrassing when you are 13.
We who run late start to play really silly games with ourselves. Come on, fess up…. How many of you during the day are crazy enough to find yourself thinking “ok, I can do this one more quick thing before I go to the bathroom.” Then you hope no one is in your way as you speed-walk to the ladies’ room. The other game I’ll catch myself playing is the drive-time equation. Knowing I have four minutes to get somewhere before I’m officially late, while driving I’ll try to guess how quickly I can make it there without speeding (too much), and if traffic flows smoothly, if I don’t hit any red lights, if, if, if…. And the best of all is the “how late will I be?” game. Only 5 minutes? Awesome, that’s pretty much on time. 10 minutes? Oh, that’s not so good, I better call. 15 minutes? Oh, geez, now I’m really missing out or being rude. 20 minutes or more? I better reschedule…so I can try again to be not-so-late next time.
As the day draws to a close, I review my to do list that I had intended on finishing. Invariably I still have half a dozen items which I now must whittle down to the 1 or 2 things I can still fit in. I re-prioritize once more, and move a few items to the next day. I realize this means that I’m already setting myself up for a 10-pound day again tomorrow. And yes, thus begins another silly game where I start to believe that maybe if I get up a bit earlier in the morning, or multi-task a few of the items, then I can create some extra space in my day or cut back on time…. whoa boy, here I go again….
Time to stop micro-managing my tomorrow before it even gets here. Instead, I better go knock out my last couple of to-do’s… so I’m not late for bed.