All my life I have been told the value of waking up early, arriving on time or in advance, and quickly starting the next task. I hate being rushed. So I often struggle with all of the above. We live in a society that values time only if it’s used productively. It seems that being first is based in the belief of scarcity and competition. If you’re early, you’ll get your share of the paltry pie. And if not, you’ll have to scramble for the leftover crumbs. Well I don’t subscribe to this ideology and I can see how being an early bird isn’t always the best approach. Here are some examples:
1. The Covid-19 vaccine! There are still so many unknowns with the current vaccines. Many of us who got an early dose this spring may not be protected this fall if there is a surge during the flu season. We’ll either need a booster shot or get a boost of anxiety and social distancing in October. Right now there are various incentives to encourage those who are undecided, uninterested or unwilling to get the vaccine. I’ve seen state lotteries for up to $1 million dollars, discounts at local stores, gift cards to restaurants, and special coupons to incentivize stragglers to get the shot. Getting the vaccine protects us and others, so I’m glad I got it when I did. However, if I had waited just a little longer, maybe I’d be a vaccinated millionaire!
2. Have you ever arrived early to an informal social event? The few times I’ve done so, I blew up balloons, moved chairs and tables, and set up decorations! I don’t mind helping out, but it feels nice to just show up (sometimes fashionably late) and join the party! So once again the prompt parrot does more work and the slow swan has more fun.
3. Siblings. I try to steer clear of topics I don’t know well. But I’ve heard that older siblings often have more responsibilities and pressure compared to their younger sisters and brothers. First-borns set the tone, accept the consequences, and provide guidance for their younger siblings. Some embrace their birth order while others balk at the different advantages and challenges that come with their rank in the family.
Overall, as an early bird you have the freedom to chart your own course. However, it is sometimes coupled with fear and struggle as you blaze new paths. As a tardy toucan, you might actually enjoy an easier process by learning from others who have paved the way. We can learn from their mistakes and missteps to avoid the same ones ourselves, and maybe journey farther because of the template they have set up before us.
At the end of the day, it takes all types in life. We need the early eagles, the right on time robins, and the late larks to mix things up. Despite what our society has taught us, there is always enough to go around and ultimately you will arrive at your destination at the perfect time! So whatever your brand of bird, Suitie, just keep on flying!