A wise lady once told me (tactfully) that if I didn't learn to be on time before I had kids, I never would. Interesting perspective, I thought. She's probably ri--LALALA I CAN'T HEAR HER! Around the same time, a different wise friend admitted that she had issues with time management. (No, she doesn't. What's that? I thought.)
Here's the thing. I don't think I'm being thoughtless or disrespectful to my friends, or the meeting I'm going to, or the doctor--pick your lateness poison--until I show up late and realize that I have been. It's in the hundred tiny decisions leading up to the moment I leave the house that I prioritize my own leisure (usually) or compulsion (but I almost did *all* of the dishes let me just finish the last few!).
Anyway, it's never actually my fault. Something always happens. Eva's lost her shoes, or Max runs away, or Oz blows up his diaper, or there's an Okinawan on the road in front of me, or base locks down.
Something always, always, always, always happens.
You'd think I'd notice a pattern here.
When I was childless and unemployed--wow, that's an awfully sad way to describe being a newlywed free wheelin' in Italy--moms used to ask me:
What do you do? Like all day?
It drove me up the wall. Well, I was tempted to say, first thing the servants bring me breakfast in bed, then I have to give instructions to the housekeeper, then I make a list and send Amelia Bedelia to the grocery store for me, then I have to get my hair done... But I had no idea where they were coming from. It wasn't criticism, but wonder, trying-to-remember the Time Before. Now I look at 22, 23, 24-year-old me and ask her, What did you do? Like all day??
Sure, I volunteered for various and sundry activities. I occasionally substituted. I worked for a bit and nursed a destroyed ankle for a bit longer. I dutifully contributed to potlucks and went to FRG functions. I did the church music thing for a year and a half. I flitted here and there around Europe. I hosted lots of houseguests. But still I wonder. Before this sweet little prince and princess ruled your moments, what were you doing? And why on earth didn't you start making a habit of being on time?
Sure, people can change. But it's a whole lot easier when it's "person," not "people," if you see what I mean. Next time I'm late for you, just know it's not personal. And also, it was totally not my fault.