The most influential thing I've read in the last two years

tl;dr version
Tonight I ran across an article that I read about two years ago. It really influenced my life, and chances are it'll probably influence yours. Here it is: Wait Buy Why -- The Tail End 

Slightly longer version
When I first read this article I was eating a burger on a beautiful street in Argentina. I remember at the time that there was something nagging at me, something that I wouldn't really understand until a month or two later — a deep emptiness. And I think this excerpt really helped inform some of the early thinking on why I was feeling so empty:

I’ve been thinking about my parents, who are in their mid-60s. During my first 18 years, I spent some time with my parents during at least 90% of my days. But since heading off to college and then later moving out of Boston, I’ve probably seen them an average of only five times a year each, for an average of maybe two days each time. 10 days a year. About 3% of the days I spent with them each year of my childhood.

Being in their mid-60s, let’s continue to be super optimistic and say I’m one of the incredibly lucky people to have both parents alive into my 60s. That would give us about 30 more years of coexistence. If the ten days a year thing holds, that’s 300 days left to hang with mom and dad. Less time than I spent with them in any one of my 18 childhood years.

I love my parents and my brother. More than anyone or anything in the entire world. And yet as I read this I was 6,000 miles away from them eating a burger all by myself. It had been a month since I talked to my brother and at least a week since I spoke to my parents. Even when I was living in San Francisco, I only saw them 4-5 times a year. So it appeared that I had already spent 95% of the time I was going to spend with them. 

But I realized that number was in my control. 6 months later I decided to move back to Colorado. As of writing, it's been about 18 months since I made that choice.

I don't think Denver is the most amazing city in the world. San Francisco had better restaurants, architecture, and more "big thinking" in my opinion. Buenos Aires has more beautiful women, and Don Julio, where you can have the best steak of your life for $10. But neither of those places have what I decided to prioritize higher than everything else: Mom, Dad, and my brother Drew. 

Michael Thomas