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Lost Time: Real Time Reflections on a Friday Night

I ordered part of my Halloween costume online. It was to arrive the day before a Halloween party that I would be leaving for from my partner’s place. Why I didn’t order the item to his home, then, is beyond me. But nevertheless, after work on Friday, I found myself ready to head over, only to instead be refreshing and refreshing and refreshing a USPS tracking link.

This is the kind of thing that makes me irrationally flustered. It is so unbelievably small that it feels embarrassing to even type. Yet here I sit, a packed backpack with 95% of a costume, waiting. Forget that we’ve been talking about costumes since January. Forget that I almost never order clothing online nor wait until the last second for something. Forget that I could have just ordered it to his place!

I stand up to stretch. How will I use this time?

I could seethe. But I’ve already spent five flights of up-and-down stairs confirming it hasn’t arrived doing just that and now I’m winded and a little too tired to complain. Look at this lost time I could be spending with my partner and instead, I’m waiting for a dress that may or may not even fit me!

Futilely, I grab my computer and decide to work on some writing. My brain wants to protest—I had just given it permission to shut down for the evening—but I am determined to make the most of the time I have. And so I start writing.

And as I write, I see what a gift this is. My initial discomfort has settled on the uncertainty. How long would it really take? Would it be here at 2:00 PM or 8:30? Should I wait for it? Should I go down and check again? Should I read my book? Should I finally answer those emails? And if it does come at 8:30, does that really make a difference?

For a brief moment, I almost let the decision fatigue take me. As someone who struggles with the loosey goosey nature of waiting for a package whose tracker says “sometime before 9:00 PM,” I wasn’t sure what to do next.

And, as someone who also likes to block hours for writing, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like falling into the flow of a piece only to be being interrupted with a package and a go ahead to catch the train. But I sat down anyway. And the second I started writing, any concept of “lost time” or decision fatigue faded.

Pockets of time can be weird. Change of plans. A wrong address on a shipping label. But sometimes the best you can do is stop overthinking and start doing. Maybe you’ll get 10 minutes. Or maybe you’ll fall into the simple hum that is going back to something you love—making everything around you obsolete. Making the most of found time.


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