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Why I gave my diary a spring clean


Jordi Lippe-McGraw

45 days. Apparently that’s how much time I have left to spend time with my best friend.

That tiny number boggles my mind considering she is the person I grew up with, had my first drink with, and experienced heartbreak with. How can I possibly only have 45 days left to spend with her? I am only 32.

When we have someone in our life we love, we expect to have all the time in the world with them. “Contemplating our existence is an existential crisis,” says psychologist Jessica Nicolosi. “And it’s one that causes a lot of anxiety and makes us uncomfortable. So, we tend to avoid thinking about it. But, in doing that, we can move away from what we truly want, including spending time with loved ones.”

So, how did I learn how little time I have left with Allie? No, it wasn’t because some doctor gave me a scary diagnosis. Rather it was prompted by a viral campaign from Spanish liqueur brand, Ruavieja. Their documentary-style film makes us question how much time we actually spend with our favorite people. In the film several pairs of friends get together and talk about how much time they spend with each other. The punchline is when the filmmakers reveal how much time they have left together if they don’t change. Each duo is visibly shocked by the results. It’s as engaging as it is heartbreaking. No wonder it has had more than 13 million views on YouTube since it was published a few months ago

After watching this film, I too was curious about how much time I have left to spent with my closest family and friends. So, I took the quiz. I answered questions such as my age, my friend’s age, where each of us lives, how often we currently see each other, and if we go on holiday together.

After I added the details for Allie and I there was a pause as I watched the result being calculated. I was sure we’d have years to spend with each other, but it ticked down into double-digit days. Just 45 days in fact.

Jordi and Allie

"My stomach dropped, and my eyes welled up. Will I really be staring on my phone for 400 more days than I will spend with my best friend?"

No excuses

As I was digesting this shocking news, some stark facts began to flash up: over the next 40 years, we will spend two years sending messages, 442 days playing on the phone, and six years watching television.

My stomach dropped, and my eyes welled up. Will I really be staring on my phone for 400 more days than I will spend with my best friend?  It is overwhelming to think we potentially have less than two months’ time left together, in our whole lifetimes, to make more memories. This is the girl who is a part of so many of my life-defining moments. We’ve traveled to Israel, Thailand and backpacked through Europe together. We stood by each other’s side when we married the men of our dreams. We even had babies exactly three months apart. What’s the most shocking is that we also live in the same apartment building in New York. I feel as though I literally have no excuse for the pitiful results from the quiz.

Thoughts ran wild about how much time I might have left with other loved ones if things don’t change. With this in mind, I used the same quiz to calculate how long I had left with my little sister and 91-year-old grandmother. The results were equally alarming.

The only quality time I would have left with my beautiful younger sibling was a mere 170 days and 20 hours. Considering I was there for her birth, her graduations, her first loves, and countless other everyday moments, it’s hard to believe we have a matter of days and not years together. And the calculations for my grandmother were jaw-dropping: 1 day and 12 hours. This is a woman whom I have learned so much from and felt like there’s still so much more of her knowledge to absorb.

For a moment, I considered doing the quiz using my husband and infant son’s information but after the results for my best friend, sister, and grandmother it was scary. Plus, the message was already loud and clear: I need to make spending time with loved ones a priority. I immediately messaged Allie to meet up the next day and made plans with my sister to visit my grandmother in a few weeks. Less mindless scrolling, and much more face time with people is in order. In short, my diary needs a spring clean.

Jordi and her Grandmother on her wedding day

"The calculations for my grandmother were jaw-dropping: 1 day and 12 hours. This is a woman whom I have learned so much from and felt like there’s still so much more of her knowledge to absorb."

We need to see more of each other

I’m certainly not the only one who has reconsidered how I spend my time. In fact, the most surprising result of Ruavieja’s campaign was how people have changed their behaviors as a result. “The film and quiz acted as an eye-opener for many people,” says Kerman Romeo Vitoria, Brand Ambassador for Ruavieja. “We are amazed by the huge amount of photos we have received: friends having dinners, families enjoying time together, couples parking their mobile phones.”

Still reeling from the results, I discover that according to new statistics from OpinionWays’, 77% percent of people say they’ve already declined an opportunity to hang out with their relatives because they prefer to watch a film or a TV show on a video streaming platform. What’s more, is that 13% of respondents stated they often do it. The numbers speak for themselves – we are making less time for each other and it’s a global phenomenon.

New technology is a reality no one can avoid and many even argue technology facilitates contact with close friends and family and represents a new way of making friends. But what impact does it have on true conviviality?

Even though new technology facilitates social ties—60% of those interviewed felt that in this increasingly digital world—they meet up with their friends less and less. It also seems to lead to more superficial, less sincere friendships. And, overall, 61% of respondents think the world is less convivial nowadays than five years ago. That all paints a pretty bleak picture on top of the revelations of the quiz.

So, what can we do as a society? Do we need a movement to encourage individuals to prioritize the important people in their lives? Ruavieja’s campaign tagline is #TenemosQueVernosMas, which translates to “We need to see more of each other.” And that’s precisely what we need to do.

"Ruavieja’s campaign tagline #TenemosQueVernosMas, translates to "We need to see more of each other."

"Ruavieja’s campaign tagline #TenemosQueVernosMas, translates to "We need to see more of each other."

Making more effort

What would you do if you knew you had days or even just hours left to spend with your friends and family? Would you revise your resolutions for the year ahead? Asking these questions inspires us to take action and spend more time making genuine connections with the people we love.

“Our lives are full, so it’s hard to imagine fitting in more things,” says Nicolosi. “And people are proud of being multitaskers. But, how much of our time is spend being in the moment? We need to find a way to be more present in what we’re doing.”

According to a quote by Kristin Armstrong, the most decorated female cyclist in U.S. history, “Real connection and intimacy is like a meal, not a sugar fix.” We need to make an effort to let our relationships marinate more, soaking up every moment possible with each other rather than a quick text or “like” on social media. It’s no coincidence that nearly 80% of respondents in the study, no matter their nationality, agreed that conviviality involves sharing meals or drinks.

So my diary has been dusted and cleansed. I have penned in an evening of cocktails with Allie and brunch with my family; I have prioritized them. It is something I must remember to do every day. We all need to put down our devices, pick up a conversation, and slow down with one another. Without the devices and TV we have the time if we believe those stark statistics —2 years + 442 days + six years.That’s 9 years and 77 days — surely we can claw back some of this time for those we love?

I’m making a move to spend more time with my loved ones and I encourage you to do the same. Watch the film, take the quiz, and spring clean that diary to make space for those you love.