My impatience a force with which to be reckoned - Valerie Baldowski

Over time, I have become an increasingly impatient person.

That can be good, or bad, depending on how you look at it. Once upon a time, I was the most patient person you could ever meet, but then, I guess the pressures of the world mounted up and things sped up for me.

Maybe, it's an inborn personality trait, like those hard-charging type-A personalities. Or, maybe, it's a habit I've developed over the years, from first-hand experience.

In school, I used to procrastinate when faced with a homework assignment, then panick and cram all night, with minimal results. So, I learned that for maximum success, I'd need to start a project early and pace myself.

So, I reasoned, the earlier I start, the better. If I can't burst out of the gate right away, I'm like a horse chomping at the bit.

You can see my impatience most clearly when I am behind the wheel of my car, and the vehicle ahead of me doesn't move fast enough. If that driver sits at the green light just a little too long, I start muttering to myself. Never mind that the driver may see something in the road up ahead that I may not see. I just get antsy.

Sometimes, I have been known to continue on through the intersection when the light changes to yellow. One of my pet peeves is getting caught at the red light. My husband has commented on more than once occasion about my "lead foot," asking me to please slow down.

I think he drives a little too slowly, but that's just my opinion. I want to get to my destination yesterday.

I am keenly aware of the passage of time, and I like to have a timepiece in every room of the house. I am always careful to make sure the clocks in the house are all synchronized to the correct time.

I often sneak glances at the nearest clock to monitor my speed against the time, which, in my mind, is constantly ticking away. My motto is the same as the well-known athletic sneaker commercial that says, "Just do it."

When I die, that may be the epitaph on my headstone: "She just did it."

I guess that can be put to a productive use. My impatience keeps me from procrastinating, and spurs me on to plan in advance. In my line of work, that can be a plus.

I like knowing what I will need to do in the next 24 hours, in the next week, in the next month or two. If I feel like I am falling behind my self-imposed schedule even slightly, my conscience screams at me to catch up.

If I can't get results quickly enough for my satisfaction (which is usually within the next few minutes), I fume and grumble. I want it done, and I want it now. Sometimes, I even dream about my job, wrestling in my subconscious with half-formed story ideas and vague concepts that make no sense to me when I wake.

On the other hand, maybe I'm too hard on myself. Sometimes, I have to remind myself to chill out, things have a way of working out. All you can do is your best, and no more.

Being the parent of a 5-year-old has forced me to reconnect with the true meaning of the word "patience." Kids that age can move amazingly, maddeningly slowly, and, sometimes, I have to consciously tell myself to slow down.

On the plus side, however, slowing down the pace can mean you can experience life to its fullest. Now, I'm finally finding that out.

Valerie Baldowski covers government and politics for the Henry Daily Herald. She can be reached via e-mail at vbaldowski@henryherald.com.