African Time

It’s not something to be proud of.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions simply because I loathe that kind of pressure even if it’s self-inflicted.

But this year – try as I might this issue of being tardy with time would not stop nagging at me. I didn’t mean it to be a resolution but it keeps rearing its head and I am trying.

So here’s the thing – being late is disrespectful.

I find it odd that anyone would be proud of being disrespectful.

I think I need to explain myself here – time is a very precious commodity. None of us have much of a say about how much time we’re given – It’s like someone once said (OK you got me it was Oprah who said it)- she said: this moment, this very moment is the only one we know we have for sure. The rest (and I say this) is just hope. Hope that we’ll have that next hour. That next day. That next year.

But let’s stick to that day  for now – there are only 24 hours in it. Each hour only has 60 minutes. And each minute sixty seconds – it ALL adds up. Every single person on the planet only has those 24 hours. They can’t increase that number. So when you (or I) are late we’re taking someone else’s time – they need it and we are forcefully  taking it. Sugar-coat it all you like – but that’s theft.

Dr Phil (I know I know- I promise I don’t watch as much TV anymore)… Anyway Dr Phil said this better to a young (might I add white– cos it’s not just us black folk guilty of this) woman who said she was ALWAYS late for EVERYTHING and didn’t know why.

She probably expected Dr Phil to allude to some deeply embedded secret in her past that was feeding into her not honouring her commitments timeously – but no! Tell It Like It Is Dr Phil said to her “You are selfish and self-centred! You think yourself so important that you expect the whole world to just wait for you…”

And that I believe is the truth. I don’t want to be that person who doesn’t respect others. Everyone is busy and everyone has (important) things to do.

So I’m not quite there but it’s like my husband says – it starts with the decision. I just had to make the decision that I would be on time. Whatever excuse I would have for being late was lame, foolish and disrespectful.

Second I had to monitor what I was wasting  time on when I had to be getting somewhere on time.

And it’s silly things that make us late: Indecision over what to wear, speaking to long on the phone when we should be on the move, tending to things that are really not important right now… the list goes on.

African time. I loathe what it’s come to mean. To be on time does not mean abandoning our Africanness – it does mean though that we are respectful of others. And we live knowing that life is so precious BUT it’s lived in the confines of time. To be late is to waste someone else’s life.

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