How Much Time Do We Have?

Thursday, 20 October 2022 at 05:29 in the afternoon

I was reading an article recently which I found on on HackerNews. It suggests that the adage that you only get 18 summers with your children is not true, but:

In fact, 75% of the time we spend with our kids in our lifetime will be spent by age 12.

Ginny Yurich

Unfortunately, their comments are not cited at all, and so I can’t validate that figure. But it sounds probably about right, although maybe a little on the high side. We go from living with our parents to moving out—University, new homes in different cities, etc.

But it got me thinking about my own relationship with my parents.

This article does some maths on how long you might have left with your own parents. I am broadly the same age as the author, and his conclusion was that:

It turns out that when I graduated from high school, I had already used up 93% of my in-person parent time. I’m now enjoying the last 5% of that time. We’re in the tail end.

The author has two sisters, similar to me, which is a quiet reminder that these numbers are optimistic estimates. They calculated that they probably had 15% of their time left. But the truth is that any day, that time can run out, like it did with Sandi.

I wanted to calculate if their assumptions were broadly correct and/or similar to my numbers.

I plugged some numbers into a life expectancy calculator, and then did some rough estimations of how many hours per year I have spent respectively with my mum and dad.

And if I carry on like this, I’m not quite at 5%, but not much more than 7% (and it was about 60% by age 12, not 75%).

These types of thoughts have been on my mind a lot over the past year or so, and I was happy to see how many people also think about this.

We all have to accept that there is a finite number of times we will ever meet the people we care about again, and that number is probably a lot lower than you think it is.