Crossing 42nd street is a battlefield of sorts in which people crossing wildly throw their bodies before oncoming traffic in order to beat the light. If you stop for a second to process that scene, you are startled out of your fast-paced reverie to think about the craziness of the moment. In order to beat the traffic light, rush to a nonsense meeting or just run to not have to stand around, people risk their lives. And for what? To what end? Upon witnessing all this, I took out my phone to send out a witty twitter message and found that my phone was off with no power. My phone had burned up. I shrugged to myself and placed my phone back in my pocket and kept walking at a moderate pace.
I was walking at a slower pace than usual for me. I am a natural speed-walker. However, I was not going to rush. I am trying to slow my life down so that I am not ruled by other people’s agendas and unreasonable expectations. There are many hard workers out there who are willing to go the extra mile to get the work done. I, for one, am one of those. However, there should be no reason to work extremely hard to meet completely crazy, unreasonable expectations.
A few months back I met with a friend for lunch who ten minutes into the conversation mentioned how she was taking things slower in life. She’s always been on the go yet; she wasn’t going to keep pushing herself even if that meant she would be late to meetings. I flinched internally. I have never really been late to anything. I am usually the person that is there a minute before or right on time. That is me indeed: the person that is always right on time.
This time, however, I arrived to a meeting 20 minutes late and I was not even the last one to arrive. I had a minimal amount of guilt. I can’t go completely cold turkey. Here is the thing. It was unreasonable of the meeting planners to expect me to get there on time and I had noted it thus. I had three medical appointments all the way downtown and had to get to midtown for a meeting that shouldn’t have been two hours long. I had advised them that I had a full plate yet they insisted on setting that particular time for the meeting because that is what worked best for them. Normally, I would have somehow have found a way to make it to that meeting on time even though it was unreasonable of them to have set that time period. This time, however, I just could not do it. I wanted (needed) to eat and give both my brain and legs a break. I sent an email noting I would probably be late and stopped to get a quick bite to eat that I chowed down on in the cab. So even then I still rushed; although at a slower pace (for me)
I arrived to the meeting and I kept my phone off for four hours. That is a world record for me. When I turned it on I had 15 text messages, two voicemail messages and over 100 emails. Someone who sent an email proceeded to send two text messages because they had not heard from me immediately. Later on that night, another person sent me a text message at midnight because they sent an email at 8pm and had not heard from me and they felt their message was urgent. Their midnight text message consisted of asking me to acknowledge email receipt. These are the types of unreasonable demands that are put upon us these days. Everyone feels that their email message is important and that they need an immediate answer. People forget that we are not automated email answerers and that we are human. We need time to think, rest, and just laugh. We need time to sit on the couch and catch the latest episode of our guilty pleasure must-see television show.
Even though I flinched a while back, I thank that friend of mine that reminded me that I do not have to rush to everything. I do not have to try to meet unreasonable demands. I will always work hard to get a job done well. However, people’s crazy, unreasonable agendas should not impact me adversely. If someone has an unreasonable demand that is on them. I set a lot of my own extremely high expectations. Those are on me.
Today, I will do what I can and do it well. Tomorrow I will also not rush ahead of oncoming traffic. There is no meeting or product that is worth trying to beat out a bus.