18/05/17

Thank you for being late!

© Tay Kay Chin
"On one of those occasions, I realized I didn’t care at all about my guest’s tardiness, so I said: “No, no, please—don’t apologize. In fact, you know what, thank you for being late!”
Because he was late, I explained, I had minted time for myself. I had “found” a few minutes to just sit and think. I was having fun eavesdropping on the couple at the next table (fascinating!) and people-watching the lobby (outrageous!). And, most important, in the pause, I had connected a couple of ideas I had been struggling with for days. So no apology was necessary. Hence: “Thank you for being late.”
The first time, I just blurted out that response, not really thinking about it. But after another such encounter, I noticed that it felt good to have those few moments of unplanned-for, unscheduled time, and it wasn’t just me who felt better! And I knew why. Like many others, I was beginning to feel overwhelmed and exhausted by the dizzying pace of change. I needed to give myself (and my guests) permission to just slow down; I needed permission to be alone with my thoughts—without having to tweet about them, take a picture of them, or share them with anyone. Each time I reassured my guests that their lateness was not a problem, they would give me a quizzical look at first, but then a lightbulb would suddenly go on in their heads and they would say something like: “I know what you mean … ‘Thank you for being late!’ Hey, you’re welcome.”
Thomas L. Friedman, in Thank you for being late: an optimistic guide to thriving in the age of accelerations, 2016

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