The Tail End

It hit me like a ton of bricks, realizing that at 30 years old, 90% of the time I will spend with some people I love most is already behind me...

Here’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately and I think it’s worth all of us taking some time to think about it.

It hit me a while back that for some of the people I love most in my life, I’m already on the tail end of my relationship with them.

At 30, that didn’t make sense, but as I thought about it, the reality of it hit me hard.

Hear me out and look at it this way:

On average, I see my parents once, maybe twice per month. They are both around sixty and for simple math, let’s say I’m one of the extremely lucky humans who has both his parents live until they are 90 (average life expectancy is around 80).

Being generous on both accounts of how often I see them and how long they live, means I’ll see them a total of 720 more days in my life (24 times per year, 30 years).

At first, 720 might sound like a lot, but when you really think about it, it’s not.

When you take a step back and look at it in the big picture, you really start to see why this matters.

Some simple, but heart-wrenching math...

During the first 18 years of my life, I spent most of my days with my parents.

For easy math, let’s just say that on average, it was 75% of the time over the 18 years. More when I was a baby and less when I was a teenager.

Given those numbers, that means during those early years, I spent approximately  4,928 total days with one or both of my parents.

Now, above, we established that if I am lucky, I only have 720 days left with my parents. Given that ~5,000 days with them already, that means that 88% of the total time I will spend with my parents is already behind me.

Yep, that’s when this really hit me.

I’m 30 years old, I still have ~66% of my life ahead of me, and yet, for the two people I love most, almost 90% of the time I get to spend with them is already spent.

I have just 10% of my time left with them.

Waking up to that reality hit me like a ton of bricks.

While I feel like I have so much time ahead of me, in some ways, that time is far smaller than I could ever imagine.

That simple understanding has changed so much of how I think about my relationship with my parents, and anyone else I love.

Realizing that choked me up and one simple thought came to mind:

“Damnit Julian, when you're with those people, don't waste it.

Be present. Love them. Hug them. And for the love of god, put your phone down and be there with them."

This blog post was inspired by reading The Tail End on Wait But Why. I highly recommend you check it out.

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