I came across the following story a few days ago that I thought was worth sharing. Venture capitalist and entrepreneur Sahil Bloom was having a conversation with a new friend, lamenting over how far away he lived from his parents and sister. After learning that Bloom’s parents were in their mid-60s, his friend looked at him and simply said:
“Ok, so you’ll see them 15 more times in your life.” 1
Wow! That’s not something we usually think about or bring up in conversation But Bloom goes on to explain that regardless of how a statement like that may come across, it was still the reality of the situation.
It sounds insensitive—but it’s just real. It’s just…math. If the average life expectancy is ~80 years, my parents are in their mid-60s, and I see them one time per year, the math—however depressing—says I will see them 15 more times before they are gone.
What was the result of this stark realization? Bloom had a candid talk with his wife the next day, and soon they decided to sell their house and move across the country to be closer to his family on the East Coast. It was a massive change, but it’s one he doesn’t regret.
It’s been almost a year, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ll never regret these tiny moments…that we’ll get to spend together in the years ahead. I’ll never regret the moments my parents get to spend with my son.
His story raises a few questions worth pondering: First, who are the people you care most about in life? And second, if you were thinking purely in terms of averages and statistics, how many more times are you likely to see them?
This may seem crazy to think about, but can also be tremendously helpful in clarifying decisions about how we spend our time or where we choose to live. And even if it doesn’t result in a cross-country relocation like in Bloom’s case, at the very least, thinking about these kinds of realities—however harsh they may seem—can help us better savor the times we do get with the ones we love.