On “Time”

If you were to ask the 8-year old version of myself what her motto in life is, she would say “Time is gold.” I have always been critical towards the significance of time even at an early age. Growing up, I have learned to value my own time as well as others’. 

I have been meaning to write this for a while now, but only got around with it today. My brother and I went to work together before I left the same company we were in. His mid-day work schedule was not entirely an issue since mine was irrelevant. I agreed to adjust my work schedule to match his, provided that he will not render overtime for the entire month. After all, I decided to focus only on the transition process during the remaining days of my tenure. My brother’s procrastination was actually the problem, hence we were running late for work 95% of the time. 

I have always been an early-riser whether I slept in good time or pulled an all-nighter. If a planned weekend getaway called for an early wake-up time—say six o’clock in the morning—I’m up by four, and ready by five. My routine remained the same in July, except that I was able to have breakfast and/or lunch before we left for work. I always gave myself at least two hours allowance to gear up before leaving the house. My brother, on the other hand, was the champion in sleeping in. Not only did he wake up late, he moved as if he had all the time in the world. It ticked me off every single time.

My husband and I are different in many ways, but one. Since Roan enlisted himself in the US Army, his life turned to a complete 180. When we were still dating, he never made me wait. He ensured that he was always ahead of time because he lives by the motto: if you’re on time, you’re late. It makes sense somehow, and that’s probably one thing we share in common. We are both wired to respect other people’s time, so we try our best to be punctual when it really matters or when it is expected.

Whenever Roan is in town for a holiday leave, he drove me to and from work everyday. He was never tardy, so that one instance when he didn’t show up even before I clocked out from work, I knew something was wrong. It turned out that he got into a minor car accident on his way, hence the delay.

During the planning stage for our wedding, punctuality was among the major things we highlighted with our suppliers. It’s one thing to do their job accurately; doing it in a timely manner is another. We made certain that each member of the team adhered to the schedule our wedding coordinator had prepared. Of course, the timeliness of the guests’ arrival was beyond our control, but providing them with the wedding details in advance and adjusting their call time earlier by half an hour made it possible to begin the ceremony on time.

I strongly believe that a person’s attitude towards time is of great importance. Personally, nothing exasperates me more than having to deal with people with no sense of urgency. If I’m running late for an appointment because of unforeseen circumstances such as an emergency, apologising profusely to the inconvenienced party is definitely in order. While I don’t really mind waiting if I’m too early for a meeting, I don’t expect others to behave that way towards me, too. William Shakespeare once said, “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”

I don’t have a perfect record, but if I’m presented with traffic as an excuse, expect that I won’t buy it. It’s a given that traffic in Manila is terrible any time of the day, and it’s been a chronic issue for decades, hence we just have to deal with it. If we plan on leaving earlier than usual most especially if we’re heading to school or work or to an important appointment such as a job interview or a client meeting, then this translates to being considerate of one another’s time, and will surely make a good impression. If we’re simply going to a casual gathering with family or friends, then allowing for a 10 to 15 minutes grace period may be forgivable. 

So what am I trying to convey here? Come to think of it—if we learn to respect each other’s time and use it wisely, then we could save a lot of it. Perhaps doing so will allow us to dedicate time to more personal agendas or spend it however we want. Maybe then we wouldn’t fret about not having enough hours in a day as if we’re always on deadline. 

What’s your take on this issue? How does time affect your life in general?

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