I’ve made a vow to be a punctual person. Over the festive period, with loads of social appointments to fulfil, I became aware that my family and friends make allowances for my apparently inevitable lateness. I was a little taken aback, but not surprised, as I don’t want those dear to me to think spending time with them isn’t a priority.
I realised that being rushing around, being late, or just making it in time, is quite a stress factor for me, and a source of annoyance to others. When there’s something negative or unproductive in my life, I go on the hunt for the underlying negative or unproductive reasons. After discounting procrastination and laziness I realised the reasons for my tardiness were positive, and therefore a blindspot - yarning and over-optimism.
For example, If I’m driving from Hoswick to town I leave the house with a few minutes to spare. But then I’ll meet Angus as I come out my gate, and we’ll have a yarn about the weather or what can and can’t go into the recycling bins. Then Nancy will yell a 'good morning, Bryan' to me as I’m half in the car and I'm compelled to have a yarn about how the bald spot in her lawn is fairly growing-in since she seeded it last year.
On top of this, I’m over-optimistic as to how long it will take to get to town. I like to think of myself as efficient so I know exactly, to the second, how long it takes to get to the Sound School roundabout with clear roads and a fair wind. But I fail to take into account getting stuck behind tractors (I like tractors, so that’s fine), dawdling older drivers (I like old folk, so that’s fine too) and cyclists (I feel their pain as they slog up the side of Quarff so I do my best to help keep their spirits up by giving them plenty time and space).
To avoid the unintended stressful consequences of over-optimism and chat related lateness I’m going to build an allowance into my day. A couple of hours for pre-appointment meander yarning should cover it.
Published in Shetland Life magazine in February 2019