Our Time, Precious Time

If there’s one thing that my grandfather, my father, my father in law and my husband have in common next to their love for God, it would be their respect for TIME. I remember my Lolo Gali waking us up at 6am for a 2pm flight when we were kids, he hated being late and would always make an “allowance” even if medyo exagggg siya minsan. Hahaha! My dad and father in law are the same way, always very mindful of their watches. They always show up to their meetings on time and even when it comes to family get togethers, they’re always there on the dot—which really makes us feel special 🙂 

I’m glad Patrick is like that too. Even when we were just dating, he would never show up late, in fact he would always be too early—I guess excited kasi siya makita ako! Aba syempre!!! Being on time is a trait of a true gentleman, if you ask me. If a guy ALWAYS picks you up late and always has a new excuse, please consider this. Whether he is traveling via car, bus, jeep, tricycle, if he cares about you he will be wise with his time and make the extra effort to get to you when you expect him to be there. 

Patrick and I always try our very best to be on time, maybe not precisely on the dot but to be there when it really matters and when it’s expected–whether it’s to a meeting, a family gathering, or even just a casual hang out with friends. We even poke fun at ourselves because we are always the first ones at any party. We actually don’t mind being earlybirds, in fact, it’s an opportunity for us to just talk to each other and enjoy some QT in a new setting. Hahahaha! We may not be “cool” but that’s just how we are wired. 

A person’s relationship with time is very telling. Punctuality does not make you a stickler, it makes you considerate of others. Of course, the same consideration allows you to be flexible and allow for a bit of a grace period in between the minutes. You’ll forgive a 9:07am arrival for a casual 9:00am meeting but if it’s a visa application, job interview, or a client presentation 9:00am roughly translates to 8:30am if you really want to make a good impression. 

I don’t have a perfect record, of course I’ve been late a couple of times, especially when I find myself sandwiched in between meetings. Like most of you, I’m a victim of the domino effect. Even if I am present at the arranged time, if the people I’m meeting with come late, then that meeting naturally ends beyond the expected hour and everything else on my day’s calendar is pushed back to my disappointment. Because I’m a freelancer, I’ve had to master the art of “tancha” giving proper allowances in between for a bit of wiggle room. But there are days that are just packed and you really are at the mercy of other people. 

Whenever I am late, I always, always feel embarrassed about it and profusely apologize for it. To me being late means you didn’t plan ahead, you didn’t anticipate the traffic, you didn’t consider those who would be waiting for you. And even if you say sorry, the fact remains that you have inconvenienced someone else because of your tardiness. Being tardy also makes you miss out on good conversations and moments that you won’t be able to reclaim. Talagang “If only I could turn back time” and slogan ng mga dakilang LATE. Hahaha!

It’s not cute or cool or funny to be late, if you think about it—it actually is quite rude. In other countries, being on time is the only way to go. I can imagine being late in Japan, Germany or Singapore is like having LBM—it’s something that could happen to anyone but it’s something you would try your very best to avoid, something you’d be embarrassed about and something that could ruin your entire day and your dealings with others. Unless you have a valid reason like an emergency or a health related issue, then being late shouldn’t become an option. 

The Manila reality is we have traffic, horrible traffic, at any given hour at any given street—so we just have to deal with it. We are all slaves to traffic jams. The roads do not miraculously clear up when my car passes ala-Truman Show. I have to move at a glacial pace along with the rest of the commuting population. Save for the surprise flash floods, road construction detours, accidents and other things we can’t anticipate—traffic is traffic and that’s part of the “beauty” (grrr) of Manila life. So instead of sulking away and letting it affect the quality of your life, we could face it proactively. We can make a bit of effort by leaving earlier, planning our travel route properly, calculating the time allotted for pit-stops on the way, etc. I know it’s easier said than done, and I screw up a lot with this at times, but it CAN be done. 

Imagine if everyone committed to be on time. Imagine all the extra hours we’d have at our disposal! The 30 minutes saved here, the 20 minutes saved there—all this could add up and would mean more time to do other things that really matter. We’d have more time to cuddle with our sweethearts, have a proper nap, we could squeeze in a DVD marathon, or have some free time to blog! Yey! Not only that, we’d become more productive at work, we’ll earn more brownie points from our bosses/clients, and we’ll just be in a happier/better mood too! I don’t think I can vow to be strictly on time for all my future engagements, but I will promise to value my TIME and the TIME of others better. I’m sure it will also change when I have kids of my own which will cause me to divide and compartmentalize my TIME even more thoroughly, but I’ve seen my supermom friends manage and still make being ON TIME a priority—so hopefully, I will be able to follow in their footsteps too when that day comes. 🙂 🙂 

5 Responses to Our Time, Precious Time

  1. YES. Thank you for this, Patty!

    Whenever I would get preachy about time, my friends (who I dearly love) would look at me with contempt! Hahaha. Now I’m not a day-to-day early bird (thanks to our flexi schedule at work), but I do have one simple calendar rule: If it involves other people, try your hardest to show up on time. If you can’t make it, at least be conscious enough to notify the person waiting how long he/she would still have to wait and why. It’s disrespectful to just show up an hour later and act like nothing happened. *may hugot*

  2. Thank you Ms Patty for a beautiful reflection about being on time. Just like you, there are times that I struggle to come in on time, but one thing that I learn about punctual is you gain respect from other people. In the current work that I have I learned that people will trust me and believe in me if I show up on time during the meetings. To them it means that I am prepared and I know what I am doing. 🙂 Thanks again, Ms Patty and continue inspiring many people.

  3. Haha im pretty sure youve been “victimized” by late “friends”? Anyway I’ll repost this baka matauhan mga kaibigan ko. Thanks Patty!

  4. Hi Patty. It’s been a while since I last visited your blog so I’m doing a marathon back reading now. Thank you for putting into words what I think about tardiness and valuing time. There are many people out there who take this for granted. This feels so personal to me, that’s why I haven’t written at length about it, because I might forget to be cordial. Please continue to write the way you do. 🙂