sober lifestyle

Punctuality

Gratuitous nature pic, Day 475.

“If I’m ever late, alert the authorities; there’s been foul play.”

They could put that on my tombstone. I mean, hopefully they won’t; I’d much prefer natural causes, but you know what I mean. If I have anything close to a catchphrase, it’s that little nugget of brilliance. 😏 You might’ve even heard me say it, back in the days we used to go places, when I showed up somewhere like an hour or more early. (Thanks for humoring me with the polite chuckle, BTW.)

Punctuality is actually listed among my professional skills on my resume. It should probably have a “hyper-” before it.

Come to think of it, hyper is putting it mildly, considering the intense physical reaction I had those two or three times in my life when I thought I might be late for something. Still have nightmares about driving to the Atlanta airport on the early morning of Christmas Eve 2000, that fateful day the alarm in my Macon apartment didn’t go off and I ended up with only 15 minutes of wait time at my gate. 😱

Or that time I was headed to Pennsylvania state high school softball playoffs for work, and an accident shut down the westbound turnpike, but I was new here and didn’t know any other way to get anywhere, other than I-95 or Rte. 1, which did not help…

It’s incredibly rough showing up to a game after pitches have been thrown and you can’t report whether the first batter grounded out on a 2-2 or 3-2 count. 🙄

I have read/heard stories of addicts getting fired from jobs because they either didn’t show up for work due to their drinking/using, or they were chronically late. No way, dude! Not me! No hangover was ever painful enough to keep me from rushing out the door so I could sit in my car in a parking lot for god knows how long, calculating when it was OK to go in and wait some more. I guess you could say my desperate need to be on time is more powerful than booze.

Aaaand you’re starting to bleed, I’ve hit you over the head so hard with this point. 🤕


I wrote last week about my pathological lack of patience, and maybe this punctuality thing is tied in with that. I’m always in a hurry to get to the next thing, then in a rush to get that thing over with, and on and on until I crawl into bed, exhausted — and, compared to other people, insanely early.

If only we could bottle our most potent compulsions; it would be like owning a jet pack, or an Iron Man suit. 💥

Alas, punctuality is a pretty pathetic superpower, all things considered. You don’t get a raise — or even a raised eyebrow — for being the first one at work every day, and when your time here is officially up…

I don’t mean to be morbid, but clearly, I need constant reminders of what is really important. I need to step back and get some perspective. I need to remember that life is finite, and the only destination is complete oblivion, and hurrying from one relatively insignificant event to another, thinking you have to adhere to some strict schedule or everything will fall apart, is pretty much the opposite of “enjoying the journey.”

Recovery is like that, too, in the sense that you’re never “done” or “cured,” and joy must be found in the moment, or remain forever elusive. There is no schedule to beating addiction, and you can’t always control the pace of your growth; you have to take life as it comes.

The fact I chose this path in middle age, started rebuilding my life from scratch at 42…I mean, by conventional standards, this is “late” to be deciding who you really are, who your spouse really is, and how the two of you can build a happy life together. This is “late” to decide what subject you want to study in school and what you want to do for a career. This is “late” to be addressing your emotional immaturity and start “growing up.”

Truth be told, if you subscribe to commonly accepted social mores, I’ve been running late my entire life. I played with dolls later than other kids. I believed in Santa longer than other kids. I didn’t date until junior year in high school. I didn’t start drinking until I was 20!

I DIDN’T START WATCHING “GAME OF THRONES” UNTIL 2019!! 😳

It’s 20 years after my college graduation, and I’m currently prepping for an admissions interview and dreading having to fill out FAFSA forms.

Is it a bad thing that my alarm went off a few years after it was “supposed to,” and I woke up to reality, and to my true calling, “behind schedule”?

Better late than never!

I hate cliches, but when I consider how amazing it is to have this chance at rebirth, AT ALL, when not everyone gets it…it might not be brilliant or clever, but this catchphrase really fits.

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