city clock tower seattle washington

not too late


I stopped by the new Starbucks in town on my way to work because it’s literally right on the way to work, and because I was actually running early today (an amazing event in itself), and because my ever-so-thoughtful intern got me a Starbucks card for Valentine’s Day, and because well….it’s addicting. But this is not a blog about Starbucks and the death-grip hold it has over society. (At least it’s slightly better for us than nicotine; i.e. cheers to Ohio for outlawing smoking in public buildings and simultaneously increasing the number of Starbucks to fuel our caffeine addictions instead)….But I digress….

So while I’m at Starbucks (I went in instead of driving through, lest I miss the full new paint smell experience), and the new Norah Jones cd caught my eye. So I bought it. Yes, it could have cost me $12.95 at Target, but hey, I had a giftcard and haven’t had a really good impulse buy since I bought a $40 cabinet at the Pottery Barn Outlet two months ago (what a steal!), AND let’s not forget about the giftcard from Awesome Allyson that helped offset the ridiculous markup. So I started listening to it in the car, and as my mind wandered I started thinking about the title of the cd– “Not Too Late.” And I had several thoughts…..

First, I started musing that the phrases “not too late” and “not too soon” mean the same thing. And that was a little bit mind-blowing (it doesn’t take much in the morning) because I couldn’t get a handle on how two seemingly opposite phrases actually mean exactly the same thing. Don’t they? If you’re not too soon, that means you’re not early. And if you’re not too late, that means you’re (duh) “not too late”….so essentially you’re saying the same thing with both phrases and that would be: congratulations, you guessed it, you’re right on time…Right?

I tried comparing other phrases that are opposites, such as “not too light” and “not too dark”—but that didn’t work because one implies something is pretty dark, and the other fairly light. Same thing with “not too hot” and “not too cold.” I just couldn’t think of another example of two opposites phrased in a way to make them mean the same thing. Can you?

The other thing I started thinking about was that life is short and hopefully, very rarely are we actually “too late” for something that really matters. I know the obvious ones…maybe you missed a flight, or missed the beginning of a movie….but those are supremely inconsequential in the whole grand scheme of things. Because there are certain things you just don’t get another shot at….appreciating your family is one. Mending a wounded relationship is another. If you’re lucky (and smart) you’ll hold onto what matters so you don’t find yourself saying “it’s too late” and carrying that regret with you the rest of the way.

Hmmm, all that from a trip to Starbucks. So what do you think?

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