Moments over math


For someone who has always believed she’s terrible at math, I sure crunch a lot of numbers.

Cost of gas.
Cost of groceries.
Sale price at 20 percent off.
Number of minutes to work.
Number of minutes to my parents’ house.
Number of minutes on my lunch break.
Number of miles on a road trip.
Cost of that latte.
Cost versus just making that latte at home.

The numbers are everywhere — all around me. Admittedly, I spend most of that “number-crunching” time calculating how long it’s going to take me from Point A to Point B . . . because I’m punctual.

Sometimes too punctual.

I grew up believing tardiness was akin to laziness — and disrespectful. With a military grandfather and parents who just generally worked hard to make sure we showed up on time, I don’t tend to suffer lateness gladly as an adult.

There are exceptions, of course. Living in the D.C. area, we’re acutely aware of how quickly traffic can derail an otherwise flawless plan — and a five- or ten-minute delay is understandable. No big deal. I don’t sit in a restaurant tapping my watch and stamping my feet; I know things happen, and it’s cool.

But a half hour? An hour? A text message with an “I forgot”? Forget about it.

Generally speaking, it takes me 15 minutes to get anywhere in or around my hometown. Fifteen minutes to and from work; 15 minutes to the grocery store; 15 minutes to Lowe’s, where we spend about half of our waking hours these days. Fifteen to see my grandparents. Ten or 15 to see my sister. And on it goes.

Nothing is “close,” exactly, but nothing is far. Downtown Washington is about a 45-minute drive, and we can get nearly anywhere in the vicinity in about an hour. In fact, that’s a carrying joke: Annapolis, Solomons Island, Lexington Park, College Park, D.C.? About an hour.

So I do a lot of math. Calculate times, mileage, Google Maps directions. I don’t like having to rush, and I’d much rather be early than late.

Rushing doesn’t work for me.

At the ripe ol’ age of 29, I’ve already figured out how much I hate having to hurry. If I’m going to feel rushed through a meal or event, I’d rather not go — period. I hate having to constantly check the time, and despise the pit of anxiety that opens in my stomach when I realize I’ve gone over an hour-long lunch break.

It’s a weird quirk, but it’s real.

As an East Coast girl through and through, I’m used to over-scheduling and piling on too much responsibility — sometimes calculating my day down to the hour, to the minute. Before work today? I wrote (most of) this post, edited a batch of photos, started packing for a weekend trip, drank way too much coffee, fixed some code on my dad’s website, answered emails, showered, dressed, etc. — all in about an hour.

About an hour.

Though it feels good to be productive, that “must do this NOW” feeling makes my stomach hurt.

My mission lately — and heading into fall — is to work on slowing down, absorbing, enjoying the moment. Nothing I haven’t pondered before, but now that we’re settled in the house, crossing projects off the list and looking forward to the fresh season?

I want to soak it up. Worry less about constantly being on time and just work toward enjoying that time.

Planning less, hanging more.

Less math, more moments.

A good trade.