If any of my friends are looking at the title of this column they are certainly thinking, “Toldo, are you sincerely telling anyone not to be late?”
Full disclosure: I have, in the past, had extreme difficulty with being on time for anything; and I mean anything.
That said, I have been working very hard to remedy this rude behavior because, well, it is rude. Nothing says, “Your time is not as important as mine,” like being late for a meeting, job interview, get-together, appointment… anything.
So, imagine my shock and dismay when I discovered that September 5th is (unofficially) “National Be Late for Something Day.” Yep. It’s a thing.
I immediately wanted to know more about this “holiday.” My research revealed the source of this day devoted to tardiness – The Procrastinators Club of America. The whole idea is to raise awareness about the positive side of procrastination. You know, the whole, “stop and smell the roses” philosophy.
I am all for stopping and smelling the roses, eating a cinnamon roll, giving a hug. These are good things, but they should not be done at someone else’s expense.
As a reformed procrastinator, I can tell you, people who procrastinate love company. We don’t want to feel bad about ourselves, so if you participate in our inconsiderate behavior, it will somehow make it seem a little more PC.
Being late or putting off something you’ve promised to get done by a certain time, usually affects someone else. There is always someone who’s ultimately forced to adjust their schedule or put off a project they promised to complete because you happened upon some roses you simply could not pass up. This often means there are multiple people impacted by your spontaneous impulse to catch a whiff of some flowers.
I am still, admittedly, guilty of procrastination and tardiness on occasion. But, anymore, there is usually a valid or urgent reason for the delay. Usually. Sometimes I am simply being selfish.
Selfishness, especially when I am well aware I am being selfish, is simply the gateway to guilt. Guilt leads to stress. Stress is bad for your health. So, yes, I am going out on a limb here to say that being late for something is bad for your health. It is also really damaging to your relationships.
Even if people tell you they don’t mind when you show up late, somewhere inside, they do. Sure, they may say, “It’s okay. I had time to arrange all of the condiments on the table, and finish the crossword puzzle on my placemat,” but they would probably much rather have spent time with you. Yes. Rude, tardy, inconsiderate you.
With all due respect to the Procrastinators Club of America, I will skip this annual September 5th self-centeredness fest.
Go ahead, stop and smell the roses, but only if you truly have time. There is always time. That whole concept is not about promoting rudeness, it’s about appreciating all the wonderful things in life. Other people—your friends, family, colleagues—are some of the most wonderful things life has to offer.
If you simply must celebrate some sort of holiday in September, you have plenty of choices.
National Respect Day is on the 18th. There’s a concept.
Hobbit Day is the 22nd. What? Someone should show Hobbits a little love, too.
If you can hold out until the 26th, there is always National Good Neighbor Day. Maybe you can bring your neighbor some roses that they can stop and smell.