‘I have LOOOOADS of time’, I find myself saying at least once a day – usually as I lay half dressed on the bed with a towel on my head scrolling inanely through Instagram. This happens about 20 – 25 minutes before I start frantically running round the house with wet hair and half a face of make up in search of keys, phone, purse, kitchen sink etc. berating myself for being late AGAIN.
I then slam the door, probably having left my keys inside the house and make haste to the tube. By the time I get to the tube I am BOILING, sweating incessantly and filled with a sense of self loathing so deep, I manage to convince myself that I’ll change my ways for good. Which, of course, I do not.
‘On my way’, I say, as I stand in front of the mirror attempting to match my left eye to my right. I was, in fact, supposed to have left 15 minutes ago but here I am, doing what I do best, faffing about, being inefficient with time again.
There’s a word for people like me. No, not that word. We are, according to the Collins Dictionary, “tidoptimists”, or rather “people who are habitually late because they think they have more time than they do”. And there are thousands of us, all lying to ourselves and others about the amount of time we have to play with. What a terrifying thought.
Whether habitually late to the hairdressers or arriving to dinner sweaty and out of breath, whilst trying to conjure up some ridiculously transparent excuse about tube delays, being a tidsoptimist is an annoying trait – not least for the people who have to put up with my routine lateness (sorry everyone). But I’m working on it. I’ve tried the lot: setting my watch a whole thirteen minutes early, drawing up incredibly anal timetables to help keep on top of time, laying out an outfit – pants and all, ready for the day ahead – you know, to evade that moment of overwhelming despair when you open your wardrobe to find you have NOTHING to wear then spend the next 47 minutes trying on outfits, only to settle on a bizarre ensemble reminiscent of Carrie Bradshaw in season three episode four..
My big fear (aside from slowly morphing into a dodgy Carrie Bradshaw doppelganger or being banished from date-night for constant lateness), is that I might become something rather more serious than an everyday type of tidsoptimist. As I roar through my twenties at an unprecedented speed (24 – how did that happen?!) – I worry that I’m a person who thinks she has more time than she does to do life.
A larger scale tidsoptomist: a life delayer. A girl who says, ‘oh I have plenty of time, I’ll do that tomorrow – only to reach 97 and realise she STILL never wrote that play or learned how to make her own souffle: one who thinks she has loads of time to do all those things she wants to do with her life and using that as an excuse to not actually do them them. Instead, scrolling inanely through Instagram watching everyone else fulfil their potential – before eventually, decades from now, realising she has done none of the things she meant to do and dying an empty shell of a person having achieved nothing. God, I just gave myself shivers. Essentially being late to my own life because I thought I was running early.
I know I’m not alone. I hope anyway. Anybody? And I want to change, really I do. But how? Get on with it, I suppose is the easiest answer. Stop wasting time watching re-runs of Made in Chelsea. I know, I know, very difficult given that Binky is having a baby(!!!!!!!), but necessary. I, like thousands of my peers (hey guys), need to whip that towel off my head, throw down the phone, pick myself off of the bed (BUT IT’S SO COMFY!) and grab life by the horns or I might miss the whole bloody thing. Also it would be great if I could make it to the hairdressers on time ONCE IN MY LIFE.
We’re young, but not that young. Isaac Newton had discovered gravity by the time he was 23 (don’t quote me on that – totally made it up) and Lindsay Lohan had been to rehab at least 52 times.
So, not only have I set my watch ten minutes early, but I’ve made a pact with myself: I’m determined that I’m going to be on time to my own life, not lollop in 20 minutes late, breathing like an elderly labrador. What could possibly go wrong?
Nb – as I write this I am already running late for a friend’s birthday dinner. I’M SORRY ROSIE. I think I need help.