This is a republishing of the Shoulders of Giants newsletter.
👨🏫 Topic: Everything is fleeting so we need to cherish every moment
🔍 Quote: An unknown source on choosing discipline or regret
📜 Passage: Lawrence Yeo on how there is a final time for everything
Sometimes it feels like we have forever to do what we enjoy and be with the people we love. It’s easy to live under the illusion of permanence and security. It makes us feel so comfortable that we take life’s best moments for granted.
In reality, everything is fleeting, and we should cherish every moment.
I used to go to a cottage every summer with my cousin, Aunt, and Uncle. When we went for the last time, I never knew that would be the last time.
When I was 12, I moved to a city further away from my best friends. When I saw them for the last time, I never knew it would be for the last time.
Fortunately, I haven’t lost a loved one yet. But when I do, I’m sure it will be hard to believe that my last time being with them was the last time ever.
Of all the time you will ever spend with your parents, 90% of it will most likely be used up by age 25. You will go from seeing them almost every day to just a couple times per year until the end of their time.
This is all to say that every moment is precious, even the ones that consistently occur right now.
Every Super Bowl I watch with my Dad is a gem. Every time my friends and I get together to play poker is special. I treasure every morning that my dog wakes me up.
I feel this way because I know everything is fleeting. It’s a fact that I will lose everything I love. There will come a day when I desperately wish for the things I’m used to today.
Life and its moments are finite. So much so that we’ll do everything in our lives a specific number of times.
For example, let’s say you’re 30 years old right now and you live a long life of 90 years:
Understanding the finality of everything helps you enjoy life's moments to the max. It’s hard to neglect times that you know won’t last forever.
Besides hoping for technology that extends our lives to 300 years, there are a few things we can do with this information.
The first is to live in the same place as the people you love the most. You’ll spend way more time with friends and family that you live in the same city with.
The second is to act on your priorities. Not seeing someone or experiencing something doesn't matter if you don't care about it to begin with. But if it bothers you that you only see your parents four times a year, then you should make that a priority and act on it.
The final thing is to make sure your time spent on something or with someone is quality time. Whether you’re out for dinner with family or playing tennis with friends, treat that moment how it deserves to be treated: like something precious.
You can either experience the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The choice is yours.
It’s important to remember that all of my parents’ intentions come from a place of deep care and love. I may feel a bit annoyed when my Dad tells me to put on an unbearably thick jacket in slightly chilly weather, but he’s doing it because he’s truly concerned about my well-being. The easiest way to keep this in perspective is to remember that there will be a final time my Dad reminds me to put that jacket on. There will be a day when it’s slightly chilly outside, and I’ll look at that jacket, wishing upon the heavens that he could be there to put it on me one more time. What was once an annoying thing I brushed off will be the one thing I’d give anything for, but nothing I offer will be able to bring that moment back.
- Lawrence Yeo