21-Day Writing Challenge Day 19 – Time Left

I went to see my grandparents yesterday, a short visit before I leave the country once again without knowing when I’ll be back. My grandmother is far from being emotive. She’s never told my dad or myself that she loves us. That’s just not something she does. She obviously loves us but she’s never learned how to say it with words.

But yesterday, I could feel her emotion, piercing through her usual protective wall when it came time to say goodbye.

If I would have waited a few more minutes, she might have even teared up a little. I know I felt quite sad saying goodbye once again.

She did ask if my stay in Quebec City had made me want to stay here. But unfortunately for her, I told her that no. My stay here made me want to leave and go explore even more. I like seeing my family, but I’m in no way ready to settle down back here again.

As we were leaving, I remembered a post I read a few years ago about how we do not quite realize how many times we have left in our lives to see people.

Life expectancy for Canadian woman is around 84 years. It means that I have about 50 years of life left if everything goes according to statistics.

As we grow up, we live with our parents, and as soon as we leave the house, we usually have less time left to spend with them than we’ve already had without even realizing it.

I left my parent’s house when I was 16. By then I had spent about 5840 days with them. Since then, I haven’t seen them all that much. I did see them more regularly for the 8 years that followed, but for the last 10 years, I have spent on average 15 days per year with them. It’s only roughly 150 days. If I keep going at this rate, we’ll probably have about 300 days left to spend together. That is if they reach about 85 years old. While it might look like a big number, it would be less than a year if we spend them all in one go…

The same way, if I see someone once a year on average, I have about 50 times left to see them. It seems like a lot, but if they are already 65 or so, I most likely have less than 20 times left to spend time with them.

I tend to see my grandparents two afternoons per year. They are already about 90 years old. So there are just a handful more times I’ll get to see them.

Thinking about this can be very depressing, but it’s also an opportunity to make sure every moment spent with the people we love counts. Making sure to create memories, and not have too many regrets so that if we never meet up again, we’ll have lovely memories to hold on to.

This applies to most relationships or most situations in life. We never really know when the end will come, so we might as well make it worth it. Holding grudges do seem pointless when you realize it is actually removing time from the available moments you have left to share.

On a similar idea, I could stay here and spend more time with my family, (and I might regret my decision to leave later on,) but I also have to keep in mind that my life could also stop at any given time. And I’d much rather go thinking that I’ve followed my passion and gone way past my comfort zone regularly. That I’ve tried new things, experienced new ways to live. That I went out of my way to catch up with friends. That I’ve loved, even if it means I got hurt in the process. Or more simply, that I’ve lived. Truly and fully.

Trying to balance the time I want to spend with people and my need to explore the world is not easy. Thankfully with the new technologies, we can still talk regularly. It’s not the same as seeing each other, of course, but it’s as close as I can get to get the best of both worlds. It’ll have to do for now anyway!

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