I grew up often hearing the phrase “quality over quantity,” meaning that we should have a few things that are better quality rather than many things that are low quality. This may be true, however, others may think “quantity over quality” means “the more, the better.” Personally, I’ve found myself in a situation where both explanations ring true—both are equally important to me, and I’m selfishly striving for it all…I’m talking about quality and quantity time.

We’ve probably all experienced the inevitable situation where a loved one is ready to leave this earth; their time has come or is coming, and no quantity or quality of anything can stop that inevitability. What I’m finding that I can do is focus on how I’m spending my time and make choices that are going to leave me in a good mental space in the future.

Quality Time: Quality time means spending time with another person to strengthen your relationship. It is time spent together with undivided, intentional attention. Recently, my focus is not simply to visit someone but rather be WITH someone. I want to listen to them and take what they say to heart. I want to ask questions and hear their detailed answers. I want to be able to look back on the times I chose to spend with someone and remember the conversations we had and the emotions that were in the room when we were together. Not just a visit—but true quality time together. 

Quantity Time: Quantity doesn’t always seem better, or in some cases even good, but think about your best friend… or someone that is truly close to you. I bet you have spent more time together with them than you did with another person you’re close to. That is because your quality conversations foster a unique connection, making your friendship special. But more importantly, the fact that they’re always there for you keeps you two close, leaving a great number of experiences to look back on.

Quantity time really starts to weigh in when you know that it may soon come to an end. You squeeze in all the time you can, even when it doesn’t reach the highest quality. More is not always better, but I know that spending as much time with a loved one is of high importance to me.

For my mental wellness, I think it is important to check in with myself every now and then and analyze exactly how I’m spending my time. When I find myself in a scenario where I need to make a shift or twist, I will make that shift or twist. However, right now, my focus is on finding the right balance between quality and quantity because they both have equal importance to me. I want to look back on my life and be confident in the choices that left me with both vivid, laughable memories as well as one too many “just a visit” encounters.