A step in the right direction

It all started when I was about six.

As far as I can remember anyway. “Would Mrs Shepherd please come to the information desk, your daughter is waiting for you.” I had dawdled a considerable enough length for people to be concerned.

In my defence who doesn’t want to dawdle in Ikea? And as a slightly odd six year old obsessed by magic tricks and witches, I wanted to discover whatever I could.

My mum said I wasn’t even crying when she found me. I was a natural dawdler.

The history of my earlier dawdling is somewhat patchy. Between seven and twelve I dawdled a lot with my dad. If he was going anywhere I would go. And I mean these were largely terribly boring places – car boots, supermarkets and DIY shops. I liked the feeling of getting out though, always in my purple velvet ‘nan’ slippers. I wasn’t ready to make that break from home yet.

But I am not sure this really constitutes as genuine dawdling. It was simply laying the foundations for my later years.

When I finished college I was going to university. The perfect place to dawdle. But I had begun to be a slight dawdler in my head, often referred to as a ‘daydreamer’. Though I wasn’t really dreaming (in the day, anyway). I just wanted to make sure I was dawdling to the right places.

So I took a year out and dawdled in the right directions, made my mind up about a career and therefore, closed the door on that dawdle. This sudden revelation allowed for some recreational dawdling. Like people who join slimming classes and when they’ve been really good one day, “bank” their calories.

With free dawdling time most definitely banked, my friend and I had decided to travel around Germany starting off in Paris. It was the peak of my adult dawdling, which sounds more deviant than it was…

We found places we hadn’t planned and met people we hadn’t expected to. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. I’d missed people back home as well as really enjoying myself, so learnt dawdling in the literal sense maybe wasn’t a long term pursuit of mine.

As a student I dawdled from one degree (and city) into another; not in a negative way. Because I think sometimes, and for most people I know, it’s a necessary path. So many people I knew didn’t get on with their course, and I don’t think they should have necessarily given up – I didn’t. I gave teaching two years. A slightly longer (and successful) dawdle from which I had lots to take with me.

Many years on I’ve a lot to thank Ikea for. People think dawdling is bad for you. And as children we’re told not to dawdle at the back. At the risk of sounding terribly twee, what they don’t realise is those are the ones that are thinking.

I definitely do not have all the answers. But I am sure a healthy dose of dawdling now and then does you good.

So next time you see a dawdler, be kind. We are a misunderstood group.

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