Question 364 of 365: Why should we treasure the penultimate?

Question 364 of 365: Why should we treasure the penultimate?

Quite often we do not know when we are about to experience the last of something. The last day on the job comes as a surprise sometimes. The last moments before a child wakes up in the morning are a complete mystery. Even the last time that we see a loved one is not forewarned. So, in those moments that we do know that something is going to happen for the last time, we should treasure them because we have been given that knowledge and we know that it is a rare thing.

I believe in the penultimate because of how it feels to almost finish a project and know that only one more piece needs to be placed. The minute before the last minute of a workout is so sweet because you know that the cooldown is coming and you can turn on the afterburners and give it everything that you have just one more time.

I am powering through, knowing that tomorrow is the last day that I will be writing for such a specific purpose. Tomorrow will be the final installment of reflection, the one that I couldn’t see clearly until today.

My penultimate purpose is catching the ball just one more time before I throw it away forever. I want to make sure that I see the ball all the way into my glove and feel the heavy weight of it as I clasp my thumb hard against the rest of my hand. And as I check to make sure that it is still in there, I know that all I have to do is toss the ball back and I will be done. I can go inside and have chicken noodle soup and think about what a wonderful game of catch this has been.


  1. Any time you send my brain to Ze Frank, it’s a good day. Frank likes when he is 80% done. He says most of the work is behind him, but the end is in sight. He still has something to work on, but the next project is on the horizon.
    I get that 364/365 is much more than 80%, but the same sentiment applies here.
    I wonder what this process would have been if you didn’t know if you were writing on a given day. What if some piece of it was up to chance and you had to check in to say if you were due to write? Knowing something is penultimate inherently must change the experience. Logging in one day to find you had unknowingly written the penultimate post the day before would be an interesting experience.

    1. I like that idea of a random penultimate. I like have goals and achieving
      them too. I’m not sure which ones would give me greater satisfaction, but I
      guess I am okay with knowing. The subtle satisfaction of getting closer
      every day is pretty powerful. It is the not knowing when I will be done that
      continues to cause me daily pain.

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