We had my bachelor party this past weekend. I had high hopes, and they were easily exceeded. The best part – by far – was taking a step back and watching so many important people in my life (most of whom came in as strangers) so easily having a great time with each other.
After the party was over I drove back to Rochester, giving my friend Rosey a ride. He flew cross-country from Oregon for the party. Other friends flew from San Francisco or drove from Cincinnati, New York City, and Pittsburgh.
I thanked Rosey for making an expensive and time-consuming journey. And he responded,
You just go. If you don’t make time for this stuff, it won’t happen. So when someone plans something, you just go. It’s how my family has stayed so close, even though we’re all over the country. You just go. You show up.
Rosey’s comment made me think of this viral article from Wait But Why. The gist of the article is that your remaining time with loved ones is deceptively limited.
I’ll use Rosey as an example. We used to spend ~3 hours a day together (engineering classes, studying, meals, etc.), for 180 days a year (college year duration), for 2.5 years (we didn’t become friends until late sophomore year).
That’s 1350 hours.
We’ve seen each other ~5 times since, usually for a weekend. That’s 50 more hours.
And zooming out to the future (marriage, kids, careers), that frequency is unlikely to increase. We might have 10 or 20 more big hangouts ever.
This past weekend could easily represent 10% of my remaining face-time with Rosey ever.
The same goes for ~80% of the guys at the party. My family, childhood friends, college friends…we’re all in the last 10% or 20% of our time together.
As for the entire group getting together, it’s a one-and-done situation. Those ~20 friends will never all be together in that circumstance again. I stepped back a few times over the weekend to appreciate that.
Your life is no different.
You’re probably in the last 10% of time with your parents. With your siblings. With cousins, old friends, or grown children.
Your days (at least, the ones you spend with your loved ones) are numbered.
And what does this have to do with money?
Money is a tool to buy freedom. But acquiring money requires a sacrifice of freedom. Sacrifice now, reap later. Balancing current sacrifice against future reward is vital.
Done poorly and you won’t see enough of the people you love. It’s that simple. And that sobering.
- You’ll sacrifice too much time now because you’ll take current abundant opportunities for granted.
- Or you won’t have the freedom to see those people later when your opportunities are waning.
One of the top regrets of the dying is, “I wish I’d stayed in touch more.” Nobody regrets not budgeting or a missed stock pick. They don’t measure regret in dollars.
But they do regret not having the freedom to be with the people they love. They measure regret in time.
Time is ticking. Money isn’t the end. But it’s the means that can help you reclaim the clock.
When you get the opportunity to see your best friends and family, you don’t want to miss it. You don’t want to miss them.
You just go.