I’ve always had a problem with timing. I like to blame my parents. When I was younger, people used to invite my family to events and tell us it started an hour earlier than it really did so that maybe, just maybe, we’d actually show up on time. Even still, my parents and brother and I would find ourselves frantically throwing ourselves together and piling in the car and lo and behold, an hour after the outing was really supposed to start, we’d show up, doling out excuses and apologies. I don’t think we were ever on time for a single thing.
Ever since then, it’s been a hard habit to kick. My senior year of high school, I was late every day to class. In college, I’d find myself literally running just to make it to meetings in time. Even still, when I meet up with friends for coffee, I always end up texting them frantically that I’m sorry, I’m almost there, I promise, just give me a few more minutes.
But I always need just a few more minutes. Just give me a few more hours, a few more days — just give me a little extra time. It’s almost as if I expect the world to wait for me, even though I know it won’t.
I could measure my life by the amount of things I miss — that TV episode I swore I’d watch, the train from Florence to Verona I showed up five minutes late for, my best friend’s art exhibit I promised her I’d go to. The opportunity to move away when it was literally handed to me. The chance to tell him how I felt about him when he still felt something for me. The chance to ask him not to leave.
I’ve always heard people say that life and love are about timing. I think they’re right, but maybe it’s less about when the world decides to present you with something and more about when you decide to do something about it. I always say, “I’ll do it tonight; no, I’ll do it tomorrow. Maybe I’ll do it next week.” And then I spend my whole life finding excuses to push things off because they’re inconvenient, because I have other things on my mind, because honestly, I’m scared. Because I’m terrified of confronting what’s in front of me right at this moment, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll be less afraid tomorrow. Even though I never really am. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. It’s not until something’s already gone that I realize there isn’t a tomorrow.
And yet I still spend half my life staring at a clock, hyperaware of how slowly — agonizingly — the seconds tick by. I’m always waiting for the moment the next chapter of my life begins. It’s only when I stop paying attention to the clock that I start to realize how many hours I’ve wasted, and it’s never just time that I’ve lost.