As I’m writing this post I’m feeling overwhelmed and slightly stressed after reviewing this recent blog post by Tim Urban.
A short summary of his great article is about the Shortness of Life.
He does a great job in measuring a lifespan in days, weeks, months, years and decades – all in visual form. This is helpful for me as I’m a very visual person. If I try and learn something new by listening to audio, reading from a textbook or watching a video it’s not as helpful for me as information explained in an informative graphic picture. Below is a picture grab from Tim’s blog about going though winter. I’m 31yo and I like to think I’ll live until I’m 90yo then that means I’m over a 1/3 way through my life.
Let’s switch it up and look closely at the Relationship part of Tim’s blog post. He states that once you finish high school you have used up 93% of face time with your parents.
What does that mean? By the time you are 18yo most of your face-to-face contact with your parents will have been completed. If you think about your own situation – you may move out with friends after high school, start work/study, get into a serious relationship, get married, have kids… so on. It’s true! Most of your face time with your parents is spent by the end of high school.
So both my parents are in their 60s and I’m in my 30s. I’m incredibly lucky to have both parents and I’m also optimistic that they’ll be around forever 🙂 My own situation is that I was at home until I moved out when I was 22yo. So, if I see my parents every fortnight for 6 hours on a weekend that would be on average of 24 days in a year totaling 144 hours annually. If I stretch that over the next 30 years that means I have only 720 days left with my parents or 4,320 hours with them!
Tim’s summary was perfect: “When you look at that reality, you realize that despite not being at the end of your life, you may very well be nearing the end of your time with some of the most important people in your life.”
I have already used up over 90% of my face-to-face parent time. I’m now enjoying the last 10% of that time.
The same goes for my three sisters. After living in a house with them for 6, 13 and 15 years respectively I now live quite a distance from them and spend maybe 30 days with each of them a year. That probably leaves us about 20% of our hangout time left.
This information has left me reflecting on the choices I’ve made and helped me monitor my own beliefs and behaviour.
My daughter Emelina is 2.5yo and the little bub I’m carrying is due in January 2018. By the time they are 18yo I’ll be around 48yo and judging by the data above I would have already spent over 90% of my in-person parent time together. Makes me sad… but strengthens my resolve to be present everyday with Eme and Leki plus all the loved ones around me.
**TIP – After reading this blog post over a year ago – Leki and I made the commitment to stop anything we’re doing and give Eme full attention when she wants to play or if she’s nagging us for something or asking repetitive questions. There will be a time when she’ll stop singing and dancing ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen. Then we’ll wish she was singing and dancing rather then looking at boys 🙂
So in summary I would like to re-enforce the main points from Tim Urban’s takeaway message:
- Living in the same place as the people you love matters. I have more time with my loved ones as I live in the same city and state. I can only imagine the struggle if I lived interstate or overseas!
- Priorities matter. My remaining face time with loved ones depends largely on my list of priorities. Make time with people a priority!
- Quality time matters. If you’re in your last 10% of time with someone you love, keep that fact in the front of your mind when you’re with them and treat that time as what it actually is – Precious.
Do It Now. Be Present. Why Wait?