There are so many times I find myself beating myself up for things that I do that are not BAD things, but are things that make me feel like I am a bad person.
I have a knack for being perpetually late for everything. There are times when the lateness is in my control and times when it is not. I might give myself plenty of time to get somewhere only to find that part of my route is closed or detoured, or my train inexplicably stops in the station for 30 minutes. I might even misjudge how long something will take, and now that I have kids that skill has gotten significantly stronger. Even when I think it will take twice as long, I find myself realizing I should have slated at least triple the amount of time.
So as I rush along to wherever it is I need to go, I hear a narrative playing in my head: “Why can’t you ever be on time? Now you’re going to be THAT person who comes in late and disrupts everything. ” On top of the stress of being late, I’m now feeling terrible for being late, feeling like I just ran over my neighbors dog.
Lateness isn’t the only thing I harp on, there are many more records that play in my head when I say something I probably shouldn’t, or when I lose patience with my loved ones. I’m not going to get into all of them. What I am going to do is… you guessed it…. find the joy in it all.
While I definitely don’t find joy in being late and annoying people, I do have to remind myself that I am only human and that we all have our faults. That’s not to say I can’t try to be better about being on time, however, I don’t have to treat myself as if I just knocked an old lady over for a seat on the bus.
So where is the joy? I’m looking for it, really I am because I am on the way to my son’s curriculum conference and I’m definitely going to be late…. that parent, who walks into the middle of whatever the teachers are saying while all the “on time” parents are sitting, riveted to their every word. I can picture it all now, I try to walk in without being noticed, except that I have to walk through the middle of the meeting circle of parents sitting in tiny chairs to get to an empty seat, and in my mind, everyone stares disgustedly, as if I’m dragging a dead goat behind me. Then I’ll sit through the conference half paying attention and hoping that someone comes in later than I do so I don’t look so terrible.
So really, where is the joy? The joy is in knowing that even though I might not have been on time for this conference, I did get to pick my little guy up from school because of it (which is a rarity because daddy is usually there to do it). The joy is also in having a little bit of alone time on the train to relax and be a grown up. There’s joy in the bit of time I’ll have with the hubby on the way back, sans kids. Maybe we can even (shhh) stop for a snack or drink! Finally, and I’m going to get really philosophical on you here now…. time isn’t real anyway, so while I might be “late” right now, time is a mental construct and so in my mind there is no late, there is just now… Your mind is exploding right now, isn’t it??!!!
So, to sum it all up: enjoy the moment you are in, and be kind to yourself!! Now where can I find myself a goat…
P.S. For those of you wondering… I got to the conference 15-20 minutes late. There was no circle of parents to walk through, they were getting a tour of the classroom and materials when I arrived so I was able to join the group easily, AND I wasn’t the last one! Two other parents arrived after me, and no, I didn’t sneer or make a disgusted face. I smiled because they made me not the last one.
P.P.S. We got to go out for pizza after. 😀