Recently I was served a hard pill to swallow. I am no longer punctual. If invited to a dinner party, have a job interview or a doctor's appointment, I try my best to get started as early as possible. I have even succeeded in arriving early. However, if I am invited to a friend's house and given a window of time say 10am-10:45am, more than likely I will arrive squarely between 10am-10:45am and appreciate a having a nice open window of time. This is why:
1. I live with a person who has no concept of time and works at her own speed. August wakes up at 10am. She use to wake up at 11am. Sure, I can put her to bed early, wake her up at 8am or 9:30am and claim she had a full 10 hours sleep or more, but she will still be a cranky toddler. Cranky toddlers make getting ready to leave the house, more difficult. They won't eat breakfast, they follow you around crying and unhappy because their schedule is completely off. However, if August wakes up at 10am, she'll happily eat a breakfast, dress and we can be out the door in ten minutes.
Nap time poses a similar problem. Skipping nap time or cutting it short creates a situation that is harder to work with.
2. In my culture, you always arrive a bit later than the designated time because it is polite to allow the host or hostess time to prepare. Things happen, believe me, you appreciate that grace period when hosting.
3. I am not a person who enjoys hurrying anymore. To hurry means to rush things and I am at a point in my life where I do not like to rush things. I like to take things easy. Little hands don't move fast and it's important to let those little hands do all they feel they can do. I anticipate this as much as I can. A noon appointment means I have prepared as much as I can the night before, this way, in the morning, we don't have to rush off.
When I can set an appointment or meeting time, I usually set it for noon. If we take a day trip, we won't be getting out of the house before noon, it will be noon, if all goes well. I explain to friends that we'll be arriving to play dates as soon as we can and I am always relieved when play dates don't start until 10:30am or so.
Eventually, soon enough, August will be on a strict schedule for school and activities. Gone will be the days of our own, loose schedule. Therefore, when I do have to make a date, rest assured it is with someone I trust to be understanding and flexible, a friend, someone who won't get all out of sorts if I arrive a few minutes past the designated time, someone who will add "ish" to the agreed time. I appreciate my group of true friends who empathize because they have children themselves, had children or just prefer to not sweat the small stuff and are open hearted to just seeing me when they see me.
This is a actually a big change for me. I was always out the door and where I was supposed to be on time. It took awhile to adjust, it felt impolite but some things just can't be helped. I let people know if I am running behind. I no longer expect anyone to be on time. I can always fill time and don't mind a wait. In fact, I can say that pretty cool things have happened while waiting.