7 Minutes Late

By: Ivy McGraw

Mornings. You can tell a lot about a person by their mornings.

Today, although the alarm was set for 7:00 AM, I woke up at 7:30 AM with the intention of exercising before my 9:00 AM class (I needed to shower, so might as well get a work out in — almost as a way to “earn” my shower). My throat felt a little swollen and scratchy, and it kinda hurt to swallow. I put on my eye contacts, splashed my face with water, made my bed, and got on my knees for a couple minutes for focused prayer. I prayed that I would surrender control of whatever the day brought with it (ironic, you’ll soon see). I also put my hand over my throat and asked for the discomfort to go. I then went to the kitchen for coffee and oatmeal and sat down to read a little bit, honestly hoping that the coffee + oatmeal combo would speed up my digestive system and really start the day off freshly.  

So far, so good, right?

Well, by the time I got out the front door to run, it was 8:15 AM. I thought of how I tend to easily underestimate how quickly time goes. So I went right, ran to the stop sign and back. Not great, I thought. I’ll have to work out later. 

I reentered my bedroom at 8:25 AM to change and get a towel, and my roommate was up. I voiced to her my hope for a razor that I may or may not have had, and my dire dependency on it; I needed to shave and I intended to shave. She offered to let me use a razor that she may or may not have had, in case I did not have one. Well, neither of us had a razor. But I had already made up my mind that I absolutely had to shave. After all, I didn’t know when my next opportunity would be! I told my roommate I was going to Walgreens, then showering…before class. She looked at me like I was crazy. I told her: “I’ve done crazier things.”

It was 8:35 AM when I left for Walgreens, and 8:45 AM when I got back. I realized that my mirage of invincibility was dwindling. So, while running up the stairs two at a time, I made the decision to sacrifice washing my hair. I plugged in the straightener (compensation) and jumped in the shower and came back out with one shaved leg and one unshaved leg. After throwing clothes on, I came back to run the straightener through my hair. A freshly awake friend said, “good morning,” and asked how I was, and I told her I did not handle my time well this morning. I unplugged the straightener and ran out. It was 8:59 AM. Okay, probably 9:00 AM. 

So I was about 7 minutes late for class. Which, I mean, was not the end of the world. I’ve done worse. But this was totally unnecessary, and totally not peaceful.

As quickly as it took to exhale, I recognized the ridiculousness of my actions. 

What happened? Well, I’ll share what I think. I was leaning on my own intuition a little too fiercely. I loyally trusted my instincts, which were impulsive and not completely rational. 

Time is a good thing….extra time is a great thing. Leftover time is much better than negative, debt-like time. 

When given control over the steering wheel, sometimes I get a little drunk on the power of that control. I’m willing to bet that a lot of people, when given control, go a little crazy and overdose on the possibilities…and this leads to false hope in superhero results, preceded by watch-me attitudes.

I understand that my laughable morning is a miniscule type of situation. However, I understand that this sort of relentless I-can-do-it-all behavior could foreshadow future situations in my life that have bigger stakes—everyday decisions in my career, or in leading a family. The time in my life when I’m certainly not only affecting myself (which, truly, even as an independent college student, I’m likely always affecting someone else in some way — like running late to a coffee date with someone, letting them sit alone in boredom for ten minutes).

I don’t want to let this behavior become habitual. I want to start my days with assurance, not haste. 

Is there something you tend to do that is something you intend to stop/conquer/move on from, eventually? 

Let’s take that by the horns and combat it with a fresh plan. For me, tomorrow will begin with time and tasks that are actually proportionate to one another.