Friday, November 14, 2008

My 'late' habit

I am not a smoker. Nor am I an alcoholic or a gambler or a drug addict or a swinger. Yet I have vices that are just as deadly although considerably more boring. Like what? Well, I don't exercise enough or eat healthy or...there is a big list here you know and I aint gonna type it all in.

One thing that has irked me a lot in recent times is my seeming inability to get anywhere and I mean ANYWHERE on time. Its nothing new. I've been that way for as long as I remember. I used to miss my school bus almost every day when I was young, till my father decided to start urging me everyday. Have you packed your bag? Is everything there? Are you dressed for school? Why don't you wear your shoes and then read your book? If you're ready, why don't you leave right now when there is still 5 minutes to spare?

With him urging me, I made it on time more often but then one day I had to leave home and go to college. I was back to my late ways again. Classes started at 8:30am and my department was a good 20 minute walk away from my hostel. At 8:15 am though, I'd still be in the mess, eating breakfast. And then at 8:20 I'd make a mad dash to my department and arrive at 8:35 am or 8:40 am out of breath and slightly sheepish. On some days one of my seniors with a bike would take pity on me and offer me a ride and then I'd be on time. Then I got a bike. Did that change anything? Nope, what happened was I started leaving at 8:25 am or even 8:30 am and was still late!

Then I came to the US for grad school and of course I was late there too. My department was located down the hill downtown and I lived up the hill, near the main campus. A good 20 minute walk here too. Most mornings when I had a class, you could see me running down the hill maniacally desperately trying to make it on time. Some days a kindly bus driver would stop on seeing me even though there was no stop there and give me a (free) ride downtown. Then I got an advisor who threw tantrums when any of us were late. That made me behave for a while. Only where he was concerned though. Other times, I was still late.

My friend had a theory that people were late only when they hated being somewhere. If you're looking forward to being somewhere and doing something, you wouldn't be late would you? It made a lot of sense and made me question myself and my motives. In the end though, it didn't make a difference. I was late everywhere regardless of whether I wanted to be there or not. It could be a meeting at work or a dinner at someones house.

Needless to say I was late every morning at my jobs too. My job in the US and my job here in Calgary. Not a whole lot late, but typically 5 or 10 minutes and I always made up for it in the evenings.

So what has changed? Why am I suddenly irked by my lifelong vice? Because I've taken it to a new dimension after Kuttipa's birth. I could dash out the door previously and still make it within 5 or 10 minutes of the original time. Now dashing out the door is impossible. I've to make sure his sippy cup is packed and there is a snack packed just in case and that he has socks on and perhaps a jacket if needed. I need to plan well in advance and get my act together if I need to be on time anywhere. But I am not doing that. I am still behaving like I can dash out the door 5 minutes before the appointment. What's the result? I am REALLY late - 1/2 hour or sometimes an hour late. Late to doctor appointments, late to library classes, late to meet friends, late late late everywhere, everytime.

A couple of days ago I stumbled onto this post by Steve Pavlina. I'd never heard of this guy before but am starting to go through his site. I like his writing style - its sensible yet inspiring. At least the stuff I've read thus far anyway. So inspired by this article, I've decided to do a 30 day challenge of being on time. It actually started today but today went bad. I was supposed to meet a friend at an indoor play area at 2:00pm. It was a 25 minute drive and I left home at 1:30 even though I intended to leave at 1:15pm. Construction delays and some wrong directions from google maps set me back and I reached at 2:15pm. I would have been on time had I left at 1:15 like I intended. But there are still 29 days left. I am meeting a friend at 11:30am tomorrow. Let's see how that goes...I'll write again tomorrow night.

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