Today I’m asking you to be intentionally selfish and yet considerate. And before you ask me how that’s remotely possible, I’m more than happy to explain.
Do the people around you know what you want?
What you like?
How do you want to be remembered?
Have you ever had those conversations?
If not, how do you expect people to honor your wishes and hopes?
I’m not talking about while you’re living and enjoying this fabulous life. I’m talking about as you leave it. And NO, this isn’t a morbid conversation. The reality is, none of us gets out of this Earthly life alive.
And before you click out and stop reading – this is just as important for a 20 year old as it is for a 90 year old.
My life experiences have brought me to an understanding of the importance of having a plan for the “after”. I watched as my Grandparents planned everything including their memorial services. I learned about how my grandfather planned for my grandmother and her ability to continue financially and physically, if he passed first. (Which he did. She lived another 2 years.)
One Uncle had multiple databases and spreadsheets. He had spreadsheets to help you find the spreadsheets and passwords and accounts and legal documents. He planned everything so moving forward would be a little easier for his family. He removed the obstacle of knowing what, where and how.
I’ve also seen people pass suddenly without any plan whatsoever. The family members left behind have to divine what to do and how to manage. And those passing were independent 20 & 30 year olds. Or a hearty 50 year old juggernaut of a man.
In this aspect I’m encouraging everyone to be intentionally selfish. Make a plan so people know what you want and how you want. And on the flip side, “I selfishly want to know what you hope for because it’ll be easier for me to process when you’re gone.”
In being selfish you’re beautifully considerate. When you’re the person left behind there’s enough heartache and challenge to deal with. Knowing your next step makes the initial shock a bit smoother. They know who to call, how to start the phone tree of loved ones and the general next steps.
Personally, knowing what my mom and partner want brings me peace. I know I can spend more time with them, grieving and being in the moment. There’s infinitely less stress.
So – in the interest of bringing this into a less obscure and morbid state, here are a few thoughts, ideas and tips to start talking.
Cremation? What to do with the ashes?
Donate body to science? What paperwork needs to be done?
Green burial or turned into compost? Where is it allowed and what to do after?
There are so many options and without guidance it can add to the pain and grief the living experience as they work to deal with the fact that you’re no longer around.
A Medical Power of Attorney – If you are unresponsive and in the hospital, unable to advocate for yourself. Who makes the tough decisions? Do you want to be kept alive by any means possible? And for how long?
Designating an agent means someone knows what you want and no one has to guess. Not only that – it doesn’t become a difficulty between loved ones and doctors.
Do you have a will and does someone know where it is? If you want to make sure specific people receive certain things, a will is the best way to make those details known. No attorney needed. There are lots of free and inexpensive ways to write one up and a notary can make it official.
How about a document in safekeeping with a list of accounts, passwords, how bills are received and paid, etc. Once you pass, anything on autopay keeps charging the method of payment until they’re notified and the account is closed. How will the ones left behind know the subscriptions and bills to deal with. And who will the responsibility fall to?
Often the above person is also your Financial Power of Attorney. Although you can do a “payable on death” for each bank account you have, it doesn’t work with titled property like a vehicle or home.
Who would you like notified? And how? Will your agent need social media account access? A list of family and friends with contact information means those who love you most can find out from a voice instead of a general announcement which can be missed if they’re not reading in the right place at the right time.
I’ve also got a set of conversation starter cards “Illuminating Connection” that cover this topic and many more. Sex and intimacy. Financial beliefs and goals. Religion and upbringing. Lessons and habits you’re delighted you’ve learned and what you’re glad you‘ve changed.
There are a myriad of resources you can tap into to help you on your journey. In the meantime I hope you’ve been inspired to be selfishly considerate and I hope you’ll become an advocate with me.