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The Tail End

Tim Urban, in his Wait But Why blog, wrote an essay called The Tail End.  Instead of measuring time by, well, time, measure it by the number of occurrences you have left.  For example, if you’re 40 and your life expectancy is 80 and you read 10 books a year, you have 400 books left to read in your life.  If you eat pizza once a week, that’s 2,080 more times you’ll eat pizza.  Go on a nice vacation every other year?  There’s only 20 more of those.  

But many experiences are concentrated in our early years.  Tim Urban says 93% of the time he will spend with his parents happened by the time he graduated from high school.

Last year, we were deciding what to do with covid.  I was living in Manhattan with my now wife.  My parents lived in the suburbs.  I hesitated on moving because I spent most of my life trying to get independence.  I liked living in the city; the suburbs are boring, there’s nothing to do.  But the fact that there’s even less to do in a one bedroom apartment in a quarantined Manhattan made the decision easier.  Why not for one month?

It’s been thirteen months now and we’re still here.  I’ve spent more time with my parents than I have since my college years, combined.  While I didn’t know what to expect, things have turned out well.  There are areas of friction, but my parents give us space.  The time allowed us to deepen our relationship.  I’m appreciative of that time.  My wife has a relationship with them that would not have been possible otherwise.  We’ve extended the tail end just a little bit.