Counting What Counts.
How many sunsets will you see in the rest of your life? How many weddings will you attend? How many times will you go on a picnic?
You may think the following numbers are too high to consider, but I found this recent New York Times article quite illuminating when we take a number that may seem “countless” and give it a visual reference.
While this math may be a wake-up call toward helping us appreciate each week of our lives, it’s particularly relevant to how we consider our relationship with time. As the Op-Ed writer Tim Urban muses:
“Since turning 19 and moving away for good, I’ve averaged about 10 to 15 days a year with them. If I’m one of the lucky ones, I’ll have quality time with my parents until I’m 60. That means that the day I headed off to college, I had something like 350 remaining parent days total — the amount of time I had with them every year of my childhood. What it boils down to is this: My life, in the best-case scenario, will consist of around 20 years of in-person parent time. The first 19 happened over the course of my first 19 years. The final year is spread out over the rest of my life. When I left for college, I had many decades left with living parents, but only about one year of time left to spend with them.”
This kind of math (depressing as it may at first feel) reminds us that we may be nearing the end of our time spent with the most important people in our lives. And, this is particularly relevant during pandemic times, especially if you’ve lost loved ones. As we approach Memorial Day weekend—what many people consider the start of our more leisurely summer season in the northern hemisphere—maybe it’s time to reach out to some friends or family members who you’ve seen much less frequently in the past couple of years.
Unfortunately, we often downplay the value of something until it’s lost to us. Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember who’s been lost to us which will hopefully inspire us to re-engage with the people who truly matter. You may only have 3 or 4 more family dinners with your parents or 5 or 6 more family vacations with your kids (without their kids). Savor the moments. That’s what makes them momentous.