I have been challenged this week about translating ideas into action. If you are anything like me, you are an ideas person, but without the internal infrastructure or confidence always to translate these ideas into meaningful action.
Today I was going to give you a list of all my aims and objectives as relating to Tasks To Be Achieved prior to my inevitable demise. I have changed my mind however, because, once I had looked at even the simplest of these tasks, I became aware of PROCESS. In other words, breaking down these potential achievements into workable projects.
For me, when the thought of a task becomes overwhelming because of an internal objection, it sinks down into the morass of Unachieved Intentions and gives me permanent indigestion. I tend to skate off at a tangent to the next idea, much like a water boatman (the insect type) skims off the surface of water in his quest for a new delicacy. This won’t do, I have realised. Rather than take on (yet) the task of investigating potential care homes, with all the questions raised about inheritance tax, attendance allowance, putting one’s house in trust, forcing a Conversation with offspring, I have opted for the much simpler task of culling my contacts list.
Would you believe that even this simple undertaking gives rise to objections? “I might need to contact them again one day” (no word either way for a decade); “X might be upset if they knew I’d deleted them” (who is going to tell them?); “Why bother with the task anyway?” (simplifying and making my contacts list more efficient for myself, also for anyone that may have to deal with affairs should I die suddenly).
I have realised there are 2 main categories of task to undertake when contemplating death. Firstly to get my affairs in order in case I should die suddenly and unexpectedly; secondly to make plans for future living – to deal realistically and humorously with increasing frailty of body and/or mind, and coping with the concept and objections towards the possibility of becoming dependent upon others. As I consider that I have sufficient working neurons to continue living independently for a while longer (some may beg to differ with this bold assumption), the contacts list and the aforementioned underwear drawer are perhaps a good place to begin.
I am keen that each task should be creative and enjoyable, not a chore. After all, I am dealing with death in order to live my life. I am approaching the list in a way that is manageable, employing a kind of pincer movement tactic – much as I suggest to my music students when they embark upon a new piece to learn – and underestimating what I might achieve in one sitting. So today I shall tackle names beginning with A and Z, tomorrow B and Y, etc.. I am OCD enough to realise that, somewhere in the middle of this, H and S will coincide, so I give myself permission to add an extra day there!
If you haven’t yet lost the will to live whilst reading this (remembering, of course, that this is a Death Preparation Project), I am planning to evolve a kind of structure to my blogs. Watch this space for “What I would advise my younger self”, and for “Auntie Joan’s Tips”. For today, my advice is to myself now – “Get out into that sunshine and enjoy it whilst you can!”