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How much time do you really have left with your parents?
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How much time do you really have left with your parents?

Anne Dorall

Often, we tend to take our parents for granted. For most people, they were the constant in our lives since, well, literally a baby. Then we grew up, got jobs, and suddenly we see our parents maybe 3 times a year.

As it always is, we often delay seeing them because there’s always “something else to do”. Can’t see mak this weekend because an acquaintance is getting married, or have to cancel dinner with papa because work came up.


So how many chances do we have to see them still? Let’s take the average life expectancy (75 years old) and break it down:

Yes, Malaysians don’t live very long. Source: World Life Expectancy
(Picture credit: TRP)

Each block represents 1 year. There are 75 blocks for the average Malaysian.

(We’re dealing with a lot of averages here, so feel free to make your own chart with your own timelines.)

Malaysians get married at the average age of 26 (for women). Since pregnancy often very quickly follows marriage, it means that your mother probably her first child around the age of 27.

There’s still quite a lot of boxes left, actually!
(Picture credit: TRP)

They would also be older if you’re not the first child!

We went for the even number.
(Picture credit: TRP)

And if we were to guesstimate, probably expecting or wanting kids of your own?

Not that many boxes left…
(Picture credit: TRP)

You would be extra lucky if both your parents are still alive and well.

Perhaps you may think that 57-years-old doesn’t quite seem that old. Maybe you don’t even realize it, because your parents may still be working, or semi-retired, or had just retired.


They still enjoy being active by taking leisurely strolls in the taman after dinner and walking to the neaby kopitiam to meet their friends. Plus, they are still sharp, even if they have to squint through their bifocals and ask you how to post pictures on Facebook.

This is all you’ve got.
(Picture credit: TRP)

So now you think, well 18 years is still a lot. A quarter of their life is still a significant amount of time. Yet if you are living away from your parents, you probably only see them about 10 times a year.

For the people who you’ve spent almost every single day growing up with, there’s only 180 chances left to spend time with them, EVER. This is including any possible sudden illnesses (touch wood!).


And then you break it down some more, and it’s really only 18 more Hari Rayas, 18 more birthdays, 18 more Mother’s/Father’s Days.

So don’t put it off any longer. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to cook your mak’s delicious family recipe rendang, visit her over the weekend. If you’ve always wanted to bring your parents overseas on a holiday, better do so when they’re still good to walk around.


Share your parent stories with us on our Facebook page! (And then send your parents this article too.)

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