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 past few months have been a challenging period for me, as I've re-prioritized certain things, and worked feverishly on others. One of those objectives has been that of trying very hard to spend more time with family, however possible - through visits, phone calls, and the like. This post captures the urgency and importance of that effort with remarkable clarity.
You know, it's such a damaging thing, that intuition and habit of taking for granted what we have. I love my family very much, but it took their illness for me to understand how precious my time with them really is. Across all of my relationships with people, there will be a moment after which I won't be able to call them, or be with them, or tell them how much I care about them. Will I have expressed everything I've wanted to, by then? Will I have given them everything I could have? Will I have made the biggest positive imprint on them and their lives?
What about you, and the people you care about?
Maybe you can never be prepared for saying goodbye. Time-boxing isn't exactly something we do with our relationships. Perhaps we should live as if we're always saying goodbye, though, just in case.
...Recent meditations have revealed to me how, in so many dimensions, I've allowed myself to live and operate under the assumption that I am an inherently good person, and that I do the best thing for myself and others as a matter of course, unencumbered by shallowness, or thoughtlessness, or impulse. But as a consequence of this mental model, I ensured that I wouldn't ever be my best self - and that the people I care about more than anything would suffer as a result. Even in seemingly subtle ways, like not spending as much time with them as I should. Sometimes in more brazen ways, though, like acting without empathy or affection.
We never stumble into our own potential. But we stumble past it constantly, when we're apathetic, or uncareful, or reckless, or worse. Needless to say, I'm not going to let myself do that anymore - or, at the very least, I'll do my best to avoid stumbling, through continuous and deliberate good.