What matters

Sorry for the slow rate of posts here recently. Events in the real world recently have reminded me that while we can all nod our heads in agreement at the idea that the things that matter in the end, when we're on our deathbed, are simple ones, like having spent as much time as possible with the people we love, we are ill-equipped as humans to realize that often enough.

Perhaps it's because something like spending as much time as possible with loved ones is so readily available it doesn't feel like a stretch goal. Or perhaps it's only the people who are closest to us who really can drive us crazy and thus we feel the impulse to flee them more than we would acquaintances, who have only the power to bore us.

I've just started Nassim Taleb's Antifragile, and one of the eye-opening charts in his book listed things that are fragile and their corresponding antifragile counterparts. The row that caught my eye was not one about institutions but about human relationships.

In the antifragile column: attraction.

In the fragile column: friendship. 

Friendship is more fragile than attraction. It seems like some deep truth, hard earned. 

The other realization: our scarcest resource as humans is our time, so how we choose to spend our time is the single most important indicator of what matters to us. This is why it should be the thing we dole out most carefully.

Recall James Carville at the end of The War Room, speaking to the volunteers on the Clinton campaign:

There's a simple doctrine: outside of a person's love, the most sacred thing that they can give is their labor. And somehow or another along the way, we tend to forget that. Labor is a very precious thing that you have. Anytime that you can combine labor with love, you've made a good merger.

Relationships with those we love can be harder work than more casual ones, and yet they will pay us back in unanticipated multiples for the rest of our lives.

Here's hoping you're all able to share time with the people you care about most this Independence Day.