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Shall I use past or present tense in the following:

I was too late to catch the deadline for something. Some lesson for me (was or is) that I should have done it sooner.

I am hesitant to use "was", because it may sound like a lesson to me now, but it still is.

I am hesitant to use "is", because my missing of deadline happened in the past.

If you don't like the writing, how would you write it for the same meaning?

Thanks!

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Either tense could be used with some minor rephrasing.

I was too late to meet the deadline. The lesson I learned from this was that I should have done it sooner.

I was too late to meet the deadline. The lesson I learn from this is that I should start things sooner.

One difference is whether you are going to put the lesson into the context of present behavior, or, in the case of the former example, if you just want to indicate that you have learned your lesson and leave it at that. Another is in the perspective of the second sentence- are you reflecting now on what lessons you had learned, or are you presently observing now what lessons can be learned from the event in the past?

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