But working through the amount of pizza I have left to eat opens the door to what really matters: how many more times I get to see the people who matter to me. I lost my father when I was 15, and the experience has made me acutely aware of the finite and unpredictable amount of time we get with the people we love most.
It was Tim Urban who first alerted me to the fact that you spend 90% of the total time you get to spend with your parents between 0-18 years old, with the bulk of that time happening before you turn 12. Think about it. Between the ages of say, 0 - 4, nearly 100% of your time is spent with a parent. It dwindles after that, as school and after school activities enter the mix. By the time college and first apartments enter the mix, many of us only see our families a few times a year for a few days out of the year.
Urban says about his time with his parents, “Being in their mid-60s, let’s continue to be super optimistic and say I’m one of the incredibly lucky people to have both parents alive into my 60s. That would give us about 30 more years of coexistence. If the ten days a year thing holds, that’s 300 days left to hang with mom and dad. Less time than I spent with them in any one of my 18 childhood years.”
Urban charted this experience, and because I do not have the ability to make my own (I maxed out at pizza), I’m inserting his chart here. All credit goes to Tim Urban and waitbutwhy.com.