Why I’m Okay With Being Late


Time. Some say it’s a force. Some say it’s a measurement of something entirely unable to be measured. Some believe it’s relative, while others think it’s one of the only constants we can cling to in this ever-changing world. Whatever Time is, it seems to have taken over our lives in more ways than one.

We live according to Time’s laws. Our entire lives are measures by it. Our days are run by it. We can’t escape it. For a people so obsessed with the idea of freedom and choice, we have pretty willingly enslaved ourselves to the ultimate master, Time.

Go anywhere. Do anything. Time is with you. It’s controlling you. Spend a few hours at the park, but don’t stay too long; Time has warranted that you leave for a meeting at 6 o’clock. Time tells you when to wake up and when to go to bed. It reminds you to eat, to exercise, to work, to play, to remember, to live. It all seems so unfair, doesn’t it?

When God created the earth, what was Time? Did it even exist in the Garden of Eden? Did Adam and Eve count their days, or was each moment simply enjoyed for what it was? I would like to think the latter is true. Even if you don’t believe in God, consider the very beginning of the world. Sure, there was day and there was night. But were there schedules, timelines, due dates, cut offs? Was everything measured to the second? Were people in a race against Time, or did they befriend it and exist as partners rather than slaves? So many questions. And we may never know the answers. But for some reason, I just can’t see cavemen running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to make it to “work” on time. I don’t imagine Adam and Eve setting up a daily schedule of when to do this and that. Life was taken one day, one minute even, at a time. And nothing was rushed or taken for granted.

So what changed? Why are we suddenly caught up in this crazy world ruled by Time? As society has progressed, from the Mayan calendar to the iPhone calendar, we have lost sense of what it means to truly live. Ancient civilizations used calendars and other ways of time keeping in order to track the stars, plant crops in the right season, or manage other large scale events. They weren’t micromanaging every day tasks based on hours, minutes, and seconds like we do today. They lived their lives, and they enjoyed every moment.

Now, obviously, there isn’t a whole lot that one person, or even a million, can do to change what the world has become today. Unless we choose to move to the middle of nowhere, make our own food and clothes, and quit our jobs, we will always be subject to Time. However, we don’t have to be slaves to it.

Growing up, my family was “that family” — the ones who were always late to everything. My dad hated it (being in the Army and all). But it never really seemed to bother my mom. Sure, she wasn’t proud of the fact, but she didn’t freak out if we were running a little behind some days (and we usually were). When it was vitally important to be somewhere on time, she got us there. But otherwise, life was a dance to an endless song. There was no choreography and no telling when or how or why something would happen. We took it as it came, and we enjoyed it.

Being “late” was never embarrassing to me. As Queen Clarise said in The Princess Diaries, “A Queen is never late; everyone else is simply early.” Well, I’m no queen, but the same principle can apply to anyone, really. I mean, if Time is relative when pertaining to “important” people, why wouldn’t it just be relative all the way around? Why don’t celebrities get railed for missing a meeting or sleeping in past their alarms or being late for an event? Because they are bigger than Time. They don’t live by the same rules the rest of the world falls under. And that’s kind of how I felt growing up.

It’s not that my mom didn’t raise me to be prompt or punctual. I was definitely given the tools to become so. And when I was in the Army, I was. In the Army, if you aren’t five minutes early, you’re late. And I was never late. However, in my day to day life, I try to take a much more relaxed stance.

I’m not lazy. I’m not rude. And I’m not careless. I just enjoy living each moment to the fullest. I used to always be in a hurry to go here and do this or go there and do that. But as I’ve grown, I’ve realized and come to appreciate the joy that I find in the every day little moments, and how much greater that joy becomes when I take the time to really revel in those moments. Life is so much more beautiful when we sit back and take it all in. Just think about all you’re missing when you rush through life. There are certain things you will only ever experience, literally, once in a lifetime, and if you miss your chance, it’s never coming back. Forget breakfast at 8, lunch at noon, and dinner at 5. Each day is new, so treat it that way, and make Time your friend, not your master.