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Being Late, Being Too Busy, Or Being 'Cool'?

Heidi Shenk "daily life"

In the last few days, this article about being late, from Greg Savage on the Huffington Post blog, has made the rounds on social media almost everywhere I have looked. The question at hand as made obvious by the headline-- How did it get to be 'ok' for people to be late for everything?

Savage hits the nail on the head with something that I have noticed with growing annoyance. People showing up half an hour late for meetings, friends always running behind for a dinner meetup while I'm sitting solo at the bar waiting for them, and having to purposely schedule dinner parties to start a bit early, knowing that the guests won't arrive on time. Am I guilty of some of these things too? Absolutely, but I don't make a habit out of it, nor do I continue on without apologizing first. And, in most instances, I strive to be a few minutes early because the thought of being late induces incredibly anxieties.

While Savage discusses the routine lateness as being rude, he doesn't delve much deeper into the reasoning as to why this is a growing trend. I stopped to think about why this might be, and thought about the instances in which I was late. In the past couple years, I would say that the majority of my lateness occurred with weekend plans with the same couple that are good friends of ours. Unfortunately, and horrifyingly, the lateness always occurred with them. It had nothing to do with them as people (we love hanging out with them!), but all about the events leading up to whatever it was that we were doing with them.

via Hairbrained Schemes

I have found that in instances of recent lateness, our schedule for the day was so full of things that we thought we could (or rather Andrew thought he could) fit into one day, but in reality was just too much. I'm not one to try to fit everything in. It's too hectic and intense for the introvert in me. Andrew, on the other hand, is like a motor that doesn't stop. If he has an idea, he'll add it to the list of things to do, or start in on it because he thinks he can squeeze it in before we leave.

In our last instance of lateness, were were 45 minutes late to the aforementioned friends' house because an hour before we were supposed to leave, Andrew started waxing his car. He thought he would get it finished in an hour despite my suggestions for him to save it for another day. As we hopped into a freshly waxed car, 25 minutes after the time we were supposed to have arrived, I remember saying over and over again, "I can't believe we're going to be so late! I hate being late!"

This makes me wonder, is our lateness due to the fact that we are leading lives that are too busy? Should we be taking this lateness trend as a sign to slow down? What if we just got rid of one or two things a day in our busy schedule to be done at a later date? What if we said no sometimes instead of yes?

Thinking from the other side of the fence, I have been in the shoes of those who are waiting for late friends or colleagues. Some are apologetic and sincere, and others come racing in, smart phone in hand, and a quick "Oh my god, I am just so busy these days!" which is their sort of version of an apology.

For the latter, I think being late is cool. You're cool when you're late because it shows that you are busy. If you're busy, then you must be super duper cool because all of those people and places need you. This, I think, may be one of the greatest reasons for lateness being "ok." It is almost like common knowledge these days that the "it" people are just simply so awesome that they are always busy and because they are so awesome that makes it ok.

When did the number of activities, meetings, events, dates, and all of those wonderful things bring about a social status that makes one friend better than the other? And when did the busy lifestyle trump being on time and respecting the time of others?

via minthouse
In general, Savage's article really provoked a new idea of living a happy lifestyle. It made me embrace the fact that I like slowing down, and that in a society where we stress to live every day to the fullest, maybe we have gotten carried away by our daily lives a little too much. When I think about my day to day life, I'd rather spend an hour at lunch with a friend, arriving on time, rather than dealing with the stress of trying to cram one more thing in beforehand, in hopes that I'll save time later. The reality is, slowing down and taking a breather just might make us all a little happier, especially if that means being on time becomes the new cool.

How do you feel about people being late? What are your reasons for being late? Do you think we should all slow down too?

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