I was chatting over IM to one of my best friends and realised: if I go back to Australia on average once every two years, and I live another forty years, then I am only going to see him twenty more times before I die.
That's it. For my family, my best friends, mates, acquaintances, childhood sweethearts. Everything on the other side of the planet has a very limited exposure from now on and each time I'm home I know I'll be thinking only "19 left, only 18..."
DrH pointed out that we only see his parents once or twice a year, which isn't that much better statistically. But the difference there is that we know we can drop everything and be there in a few hours. We can say "Sod it, let's nick down there this weekend" at any point in time. Jetting back to Australia is not as simple, nor as cheap. The difference is the opportunity always exists and if we don't take it it's our own fault, rather than the pressure of budget or excessive geography.
Twenty times. In a lifetime.
Today I feel like it's ended already.