There are lots of bad habits that we (or, at least, most of us) manage to shake off as we get older: picking our noses; chewing with our mouths open; offering others the remains of the bread basket before we take the last hunk for ourselves. But one habit I’ve never been able to drop is my delusional sense of ‘time optimism’. By that I mean that I still, at the ripe age of 32, almost always imagine that tasks will take less time than they actually do. The result? I give myself less time than I need for tasks that actually take a lot longer.
Today’s drama proves the point. I could have written the screenplay for this lunchtime’s debacle. After flying back from Saint Petersburg yesterday, I gave myself a lie-in and got out of bed shortly before 10am this morning, packed my suitcase (because we’re flying to Germany first thing tomorrow morning for a concert in Merzig), and decided I had enough time to do a spin class for an hour at 11:15 this morning around the corner from me in Shoreditch, being coming home, showering, finishing my packing, and getting to Victoria Station on public transport (now more consciously watching my carbon footprint) for a 1:36pm train to Pulborough. When I eventually locked the door to my flat at 12:50pm and ambled to the station, I didn’t expect to be in the quite I rush I found myself in when, after a slow Overground service, a delayed District Line train and a queue for my (very hurriedly ordered) take-away lunch, I bounded onto my train at 1:35:27pm (and the doors lock thirty seconds before departure), whipping my suitcase behind me and with at least one bead of sweat rolling down my right temple. Had I left just five minutes earlier, I’m sure it would have been a very different story.
And so I ask you: if you ever see me taking my time when, in your opinion, there really is no time to take, please hurry me up. I think it’s the only way I’ll ever get a slightly less stressful new habit to form. And on that note, our train is due to arrive in Pulborough in about three minutes: I’d better give myself enough time to put my laptop away.
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