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The Mistakes We Knew We Were Making

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If there is one person who will actually be late to their own funeral, it’s me. My entire life I have been consistently tardy to every endeavor that I’ve undertaken: elementary school, high school, college classes, jobs, volunteering, practices, movies, parties. All late, late, late. This record of late spans almost every type of activity and start time – I’m worse when it’s in the morning, but no matter when the event is I’ll probably be late to it.

I once heard a theory about the consistently late – they are so insecure about their competence that they must get one more thing done before they leave as a way of feeling more legitimate. When I first heard this I thought “no way, that’s not me,”. Then I realized that this was very applicable to my life. It makes me feel much more important to delay getting ready for things. And so I continue what I’m doing until the last minute. Normally the problem is that I underestimate how long it takes to get everything I need for the activity and this causes me to end up leaving super late.

I should add that I am not the type of person who accepts they will always be late and isn’t mad when they arrive with emphasis on the ‘ish’. When I am late, the entire ride there consists of being mad at myself – the entire ride is dwelling on what those waiting for me must be thinking. I hate that feeling, I really do. And yet, I am consistently late with few signs that it’s going to get any better.

Last week I worked at a local children’s day camp. It was an awesome experience – the kids were full of energy but cooperative, the activities were fun for everybody, I got to do the work with a friend of mine, and, on top of it all, I got paid to be there. It was fantastic: I literally got paid to have fun.

You would think, then, that I would show up on time because it was so enjoyable? Nope. Not a chance. The first day I was a full two hours late. Everyday after that I was at least ten minutes late. And so the cycle continues.

Prioritizing is probably the simple solution I would get from an elder or other person with wisdom. I think, however, it goes a lot deeper than that. Specifically I believe it comes from a deep-seated love of feeling impossibly busy. I love being so busy that I almost go insane. It makes me feel oh so important. I love running the mindsprint. It’s a strange feeling to enjoy, but that’s how I am.

So, if my theory is correct, to become more punctual I must realize that the only feeling I love more than being impossibly busy is the feeling that I really accomplished a goal. Therefore, I must ‘slow my roll’ a bit and try to be more focused on the present. As they always say: “Life is a marathon, not a sprint,”. I think I have to ditch some of the idealism and be more realistic; I have to try jogging not sprinting through life.

One of the mornings at the day camp they took a group picture. It’s a nice picture, everyone looks happy in their matching Tye-die t-shirts. Only I’m not in it, because I was late that day. I think that I am going to keep that picture for a while, because I feel like it represents everything I miss when I’m late. I’m going to make that picture a symbol of my past, and hopefully, an impetus to get out of bed in the morning. I want to hold that photo in a year and wonder why I’m not in it. Maybe then I’ll remember why and say “wow, remember when I was late to everything? I’m sure glad I’m not like that anymore.”

Or maybe I’m just being idealistic.

The photo and title of this article are property of Straylight Run. Visit http://straylightrun.tumblr.com/ for more information.

About mindsprint

A student at the University of Minnesota and native of Buffalo, NY.

One response to “The Mistakes We Knew We Were Making

  1. Aren Tindle ⋅

    This seems like a really cool site. Post more often!

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