Who Do You Spend Your Time With?

I recently ran across this interesting chart that shows how much time people spend with others at different points of their lives. Alone time and time with your partner, children, family, coworkers, and friends. It’s apparently from an annual ‘Time Use Study’ by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At first glance, I was a little depressed to see the ebb & flow of the lines over one’s lifetime, but after a bit more examination, I felt it was pretty hopeful and felt it fit my own experience.

What I initially thought of as depressing is that as you retire, you spend less time you spend with your kids & coworkers and more ‘alone time’ and time with your partner. I’ve written a couple of posts on the differences between being an introvert versus and extrovert in retirement, and generally believe this is why introverts likely adapt better to retirement. They don’t need the built-in audience that kids & coworkers supply! 🙂

That said, friends and family interactions are also critical and there is a lot of that here, too. Much more than first meets the eye. Looking at each line in the graph closely reveals that between ages 55-75+, people are spending about 2.5 hours a day with their children/family and about 45 minutes a day with their friends. Accumulated over a week, that’s almost 25 hours a week spent with folks outside the home. Not a small amount of interaction!

I’m generally on the extroverted side – just by a bit – and 25 hours a week doing things with folks that are “outside the house” seems pretty busy, socially speaking. I’m pretty good about organizing activities with friends/family, but I’m guessing I’m not much above 30 hours, in an average week. Some weeks I’m very busy with ‘people’ activities, other weeks I’m less so. I usually have a day or two a week where I just try to keep open of activities all together.

How does the chart match your life stage and what do you wish you had more/less of as you get older?

Chart Credit: Reddit r/dataisbeautiful

5 thoughts on “Who Do You Spend Your Time With?

  1. Interesting chart. You forgot one category. You left out dogs. My dogs probably easily spend more than 20+ hours per day with me. One of the jokes going around people who are telecommuting, which I did for years before retirement and continue to do when consulting is what breed of Office Dog do you have. Then you turn on your camera and show the rest of your team. It is a great icebreaker.

    This has been going on for a really long time. I was negotiating a contract with a high level IBM attorney in the early 2000s timeframe and I heard her office dog bark. I asked her about her dog and the breed, and she told me she had a Rat Terrier and turned on her camera to show him to me. I then turned on my camera to show her my two Rottweilers lying on the sofa behind me. This was an instant ice breaker. Instead of starting our calls with me asking about contract status and payment, I always started asking “How is your Office Dog doing?”

    Getting back to people, you brought up an interesting and very deep question. Who are you spending your time with as you get older? In many parts of the world, this would be a silly question. Of course they spend time with their adult children when they are just freshly graduated from college “to help them out” and somehow they continue living with their adult children when they are older because they now “need to help their parents out”. This describes our household where two adult sons live with us and we get have frequent visitors over and we encourage it.

    Here is a real indicator of what is going on. A church that my wife and I attended did Christmas caroling and the stops included a California Youth Authority Camp in Malibu (can you believe that) and an Adult Day Care in Calabasas that had an experiment in Intergenerational Day Care which had old people helping to take care of toddlers. I remember the dudes with MS-13 tattoos in the Youth Authority Camp crying while we signing carols to them. There is something going on here, and big government isn’t the answer.

    Your question cause me to retrospect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – our puppet, Riley, is with us all day, too. I don’t think the BLS counts them, but they could certainly be counted with other ‘Partners’.

      I did some consumer research in China for MegaCorp and had the opportunity to visit many Chinese in their homes and learn how they live. It was often mom, dad, child, and mom’s parents under one roof. It made for a nice, extended family unit.

      Youth Authority Camp? Perhaps gratefully, I have no idea what that would be.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Youth Authority Camp is a polite term for juvenile hall or youth prison. The issue with many of the customers AKA inmates in these institutions is that there is a lack of parenting in their households to keep them out of trouble and make sure they learn how to read and go to school. So they turn to crime.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Many kids need someone to figuratively kick’em in the butt now and then when they are on the wrong track!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Unfortunately 90% of the young men in trouble do not have a father in their lives. It takes fathers to control out of control teenagers. I tell young parents that Mom is the most important when your children are young, and father is the most important when your children become teenagers. Don’t keep score on who does what when they are young, because things will even out when they get older. Different skill sets for different ages.

        Liked by 1 person

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