Ashley Valentin/Contributing Writer
“He never does anything with the family,” a friend told me once of his brother. “For every holiday and every event, he never stays for more than a few minutes before he goes out with his friends.”
Most of us know at least one person who is just like this. We can always count that for New Years and Thanksgiving, he or she will be partying with friends or crashing another family’s dinner.
Weekends are spent away from home, and on weekdays, that person spends all day in school and at work. Family is rarely a priority within their packed schedules.
It’s not unusual for college-aged students to want to be off doing their own thing away from family. College is a time to really go through a process of self-discovery. And a sizable portion of us does so by going off to school away from our hometowns for complete independence.
Spending your time enhancing your social life and extracurricular activities is a positive thing, but it’s also very important to ask yourself this question: Am I depriving myself from really spending time with my own family?
The Huffington Post recently highlighted a new and unsettling website called seeyourfolks.com. The site uses information such as how often you already see your parents throughout the year, their age, life expectancy statistics based on the World Health Organization, and where your parents live to determine how many more times you’re going to see your mom and dad before they die.
“We believe that increasing awareness of death can help us make the most of our lives,” the site says in its mission statement. “The right kind of reminders can help us to focus on what matters, and perhaps make us better people.”
In the chaos of our busy lives, it’s easy to forget that our parents aren’t always going to be there. Many students would prefer to party every weekend rather than take mom out for dinner. A family vacation might not seem more important than Electric Daisy Carnival Orlando with a group of friends. But when we take a step back to really consider how limited our time with our parents is, every spare moment becomes precious.
I have an estimated 7,717 more visits with my mom and dad. It’s a very generous number compared with those that live away from their parents, but it’s a number that makes me take a step back and re-prioritize.
I can’t remember the last time I sat down to watch a movie with my dad. And while I see my parents every day because I still live at home, the quality of my time with them has diminished to a distracted hello when they come home from work and a hurried goodbye as I get ready to go out for the night. My time in between then is usually filled with tweets and iMessage chats, homework, Instagram, and Netflix.
We cannot forget that spending time with our parents doesn’t mean just being in the same room with them. As seeyourfolks.com has pointed out, our time to really get to know our parents is slipping away by the day. Instead of groaning at the thought of family time, what we should be doing is really sitting down and laughing and talking and enjoying our parents before the day comes that we simply can’t anymore.