What if being late was not the problem?

Late-Late-Late! We all know people who are late for everything. Late to events, late to work, and some would joke, even late to their own funerals. It is easy to find excuses for being late and we could each name a dozen “excuses.” People who are chronically late would call these reasons and not excuses. To those of us who make a point or habit of being on time, it is very difficult to tolerate the lateness of others. We see it as inconsiderate, rude and thoughtless. We see it as preventable with some advance planning and foresight. Nevertheless, we don’t seem to be decreasing incidents of lateness in the world or changing those who are chronically late.

Maybe, those of us who are chronically on time are the real problem. Was the world really meant to be run by a clock? Maybe the punctual have capitulated while the “latecomers” are the real rebels. Fighting against the dictates of the almighty clock and the culture of promptness ushered in by our advanced industrial and digital society. Perhaps, the “latecomers’ are living time in a more natural manner where life is based on cycles and not on a clock. The punctual person is driven by the time of day and the time designated by a tacit contract. The meeting will start at 8 AM. Be there or be late. The latecomer is driven by their own necessities and by an inner clock: “It is still dark out;”
“I am too tired to get up yet;” “So what if I come late, it’s not the end of the world;” “I have more important priorities;” or “I don’t feel like rushing.” The punctual person is horrified by these excuses: “What, I broke my neck to get here on time and the meeting was canceled.”

Life is not fair to the punctual person. But what do we tell our kids about the fairness of life? Do you suppose hell is a place where everyone must be on time or suffer severe punishments? Hard to imagine what could already be worse than hell. What happens to the late comers in hell then? What about the punctual? Are the places in heaven guaranteed only for the punctual? Can you be punctual and still go to hell?

How obsessed are you with being on time? Is there a place in your life for “time cycles” and not clock time? What if you are late? What difference will it make? Can you be late and not feel guilty? What does it mean to walk a line between obsessive punctuality and perpetual lateness? Does anyone really care if you are late or on time?

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