I am someone who is unfortunately notorious for running late. Five minutes late to school, ten minutes late to Orchestra rehearsal, a half hour (fashionably) late to a party. Sometimes an hour behind my study schedule, hours late going to bed and days behind on packing for college. When I say it is never too late, I do not mean too late for activities that would be much better to execute on a perfect schedule. I mean that it is never too late to apologize.
Apologizing is incredibly difficult. It requires an immense amount of maturity to sincerely own up to a mistake and make amends. When it comes to apologies it does not matter if you think you are right— if you hurt someone you care about, you apologize for it. This takes a level of sophistication some people never reach. Sincere apologies are precious things, and I am not one to turn down any such gifts.
Even more rare are the apologies that come long after the regrettable events have occurred. I think these apologies are the most important. Usually, they come at a time that the other person could have probably gotten away with never speaking up. When I see someone come forward and apologize for something old, something I may have moved on from (or at least something I am trying my best to forget about), I know the apology is sincere. I know whatever has passed between us has eaten away at the other person the same way it has eaten away at me, because all these months later they still are thinking about it enough to feel sorry about it. If someone can take this leap of faith that no one has required of them, the least I can do is accept their apology.
There is a difference between accepting someone’s apology and forgiving them. By accepting an apology, you acknowledge that the other person is sincere, you recognize the courage it took to come forward and you believe they legitimately comprehend their mistake. Accepting an apology does not mean you are saying what the other person did is permissible, nor does it mean that you are opening yourself back up to the other person again. Forgiveness is when you allow the person to come back into your life and will no longer hold what they have done against them. Just because someone apologizes does not mean you should forgive them. Some things are unforgivable, and that is okay, but a sincere apology is always worth hearing. It is easy to become frustrated when someone re-enters your life to remind you of something you have nearly repressed and this makes it easy for us to become angry with someone for trying to apologize. Please, do not be mad with them and listen to what they have to say. Even if you think you have moved on, finally receiving an apology will bring you decisive closure.
If you are thinking about apologizing for something that you feel is ancient history, do not hesitate. Not only should your apology at the least be heard and hopefully accepted, but you will feel better afterwards and have a better chance to move on as well (I would know). If you find yourself still thinking about it, chances are they are thinking about it, too. Contrary to Drake's belief, if you are reading this, it is not too late.