It just was one of those mornings for me. I've always been the kind of person who, even if the alarm didn't go off, my body just knew when to wake up. I set my alarm more for the tradition of it. The reality is I would usually wake up two to three minutes before it would go off. Not this day. This day, my internal clock would fail me. I don't know if I slept through the alarm or if I just forgot to set it, but either way, I knew I was late, and I felt panicked.
I raced around the house like a madwoman. I ran to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and rushed to the kitchen, trying to eat and simultaneously make my lunch. The entire time, I was mentally berating myself. "How did I not hear the alarm?! I can't believe I missed it. I'm running behind! I'm going to be so late now!" After frantically searching for my keys, I jumped into the car and peeled out of the driveway.
Even in the midst of my hurry, something in my heart told me to take it easy and relax. I ignored it. I couldn't stop replaying images of me stumbling into work late. I continued to race around. My plan was actually working, too. I was making record time. Maybe I wouldn't be as late as I thought. That's when I saw the blue and red lights in my rearview mirror. My heart sank. I then got the one and only ticket I have ever received.
Needless to say, I got to work much later then expected. I ran into the store, practically knocking over a display on my way in. My coworkers just watched me. Finally, one spoke up. "I know, I know. I'm late!" I interrupted. I prattled on about the crazy morning I'd had, and how I even managed to get caught by a cop on the way there. After my speech, my coworker looked at me and laughed. "No, Megan, I was going to say you're early! You aren't on the schedule until later today."
I stared blankly. "What?"
She laughed and handed me the schedule. Sure enough, I wasn't due in until a couple hours later. I just stood there a minute, blinking. Finally, I looked over at her and said "Are you serious?!" Everyone exploded in laughter. I let out a half-hearted chuckle. The manager turned to me and said, "Don't get me wrong. We appreciate your hustle to get here, though." I weakly smiled. I couldn't believe all of the drama I'd put myself through that morning, and for no reason.
I would love to tell you I learned my lesson, and that that was the last time I obsessed about being late for something. That hasn't been the case, though. I can't tell you how many moments in my life I've felt like it was too late for me. I thought I had missed my opportunity to go after those things in my heart.
I don't think I'm alone here. I believe many of us put this pressure on ourselves. We set these mental alarms for when all these things in our lives are supposed to take place. We vow to be doing this by 30 and that by 40. But life doesn't always get the memo. Then you wake up one day in a panic to find that you are behind schedule. You were supposed to be over there by now, so why are you still over here?
We have all been there, and we all have a choice. We can throw our hands in the air in defeat and cry out, "What's the point of even trying? It's way too late for me now." We can roll over in bed and choose to let life pass us by. We can allow fear to grip our hearts and cause us to run out and make irrational decisions, because we are terrified of losing our dreams. We can wear ourselves out stressing, striving, and manipulating our way to the top. It may even appear to work in the beginning, but chances are it will do more damage than good in the end.
Or we can stop running. We can stare at the clock of our life and acknowledge that things didn't go as planned. We can be bummed out. We can allow the tears of disappointment to roll down our cheeks for just a minute, but we don't stay there. We can trust our journey. We can wipe the tears from our eyes and get back to work. Because even though these dreams don't always come on our timeline, it doesn't mean they never will.
I guess what I'm saying is: "Relax." I know it may not seem like it right now, but maybe you are right on schedule. Beautiful things take time. Next time you wake up fretting over where you are in life, I encourage you to take a deep breath and pause a moment. Remind yourself that as long as you are being true to your heart, everything that is meant for you will come at the right time. Go ahead and silence those mental alarm clocks. Only then will you be able to hear your soul whisper, "Dreams don't have an expiration date."
You can find Megan on Facebook.