Wisdom//

This May Be One of Only 18 Summers With Your Kids – Make The Most Of It

As a parent, you'll remember these moments forever.

Courtesy of Treetree2016/ Shutterstock
Courtesy of Treetree2016/ Shutterstock

Two years ago, I took an epic RV Trip to Yellowstone that had been years in the making, followed by a mini-sabbatical in Australia, which reminded me of the many personal and business benefits of travel.

Right before I left for Yellowstone, I had two reminders of how special and fleeting this time really is. It started with getting this “out of office” reply that Joel Weldon had written with inspiration from my friend Alex Yastrebenetsky:

“Alex Yastrebenetsky encouraged me to make a sign that says “18 Summers” and put it on my refrigerator so you can see it every day. A year feels like a long time while a summer comes and goes and 18 summers is all you get with your kids, so you need to make all of them count. As you are reading this, I am spending time with my family in an RV headed across the country and will be back on Monday, August 21st.”

Just a few days later, another good friend sent me a compelling post written by Tim Urban on his blog “Wait Buy Why” that lays out a 90-year-olds lifespan visually in years, weeks and days.

Tim calculated that, by the time he graduated high school, he had already used up 93 percent of his lifetime’s in-person parent time. He also shows other visual examples of how much time remains – if he lives to 90 – to enjoy some of his favorite activities.

A powerful, impactful exercise that is sure to create a sense of urgency is to print out Tim’s chart and fill in the circles. As Tim notes, you might 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.

Here are three key takeaways that Tim shares upon reflection of his own experience with the exercise.

  1. Living in the same place as the people you love matters.
  2. Priorities matter.
  3. Quality time matters.

They are great tips to keep in mind as summer winds down and we head back into the fall routine.

There are many things in life that require deferred gratification, but in many cases, it’s not a matter of our means; it’s a matter of making the time and changing our priorities. Sometimes it also means disregarding societal norms, stepping outside of our comfort zone and saying “yes,” even when opportunities require us to find ways to creatively make them happen.

One of my best memories was how my son and I ended up at Super Bowl LI together. As I wrote about in a much commented on Friday Forward post, it was a moment that I almost passed up multiple times because I thought there would be another opportunity down the road – an opportunity that, in reality, might never come. I still think about the experience regularly.

“Tomorrow.” “Next week.” “Next year.” These are often the answers we give when presented with both personal and professional opportunities. It’s easy to think that there will always be a better time to live our lives and enjoy time with others. Let’s not take for granted that that time will come.

Originally Published on LinkedIn.

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