Death. It is inevitable. It is closer than we expect. Always.
My father died many years ago. He was squared away with his life. He told me that he had no unfinished business. Nothing left undone. “Can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but I’ve done what I wanted and needed to do.”
Go without regrets. As good as it gets.
Mom? Not so much. She fought to the very end — with a ventilator in her throat, she gave a deliberate nod to inform the doctor that she still wanted to be resuscitated should her heart stop during the procedure to unblock her lung. Three days before she died, she was still calling the shots. Clearly, she was not ready to go.
i’ve learned a lot while handling her estate. She did an exceptional job of getting things in order – the big things, anyway. There are some things i’m discovering that have me scratching my head, but mostly she wasn’t confused about her wishes and had everything in place to make that happen.
i have some work to do… not just regarding the disposition of my estate, but making sure i can go without regret or unfinished business. This will be a year of mindful attention to that. Focus on a few items that could potentially be deathbed regrets.
Bridges: There are people in my life that i have loved, and for whatever reason, discarded or lost. In some cases, i have no interest in rebuilding the bridge – i feel an urge to nuke it til it glows and strafe it in the dark. i can count such people on one hand.
There are others… a misunderstanding… getting angry and closing the door, sometimes without explanation. My tendency is not always to discuss, argue or sort it out. i have, on occasion, simply walked away without explanation. In other cases, it’s just life, distance, and circumstance that has led me away. People i used to be close to, but our Venn Diagrams no longer intersect on a regular basis. We’ve just lost touch.
If i were to find myself on my deathbed in the near future? Suspect i’d have a few regrets about these relationships. After Mom died, this started to gnaw on me a bit – a couple lost friends bravely reached across the divide to offer condolences. Condolences that were graciously accepted, and appreciated. i need to work on a few bridges – not to rebuild old relationships in all cases, but to assure that there are no unresolved questions.
Ducks: i’m over 50. i have multiple hobbies that are somewhat high risk, i need to get my ducks in a row financially. Simplify. Direct assets rather than leave an estate. No great epiphanies or soul-searching here, i just need to do the work.
This also includes a un-fucking my space. We still haven’t started excavations on the massive storage locker full of all of Mom’s ‘stuff’. i do not wish to leave a bunch of useless shit to my children. The Boy says he’s selling my place fully furnished, all ‘stuff’ in place. Truth is, someone, somewhere, will be stuck going through all of this and i’d like to make it as simple as possible. So the de-clutter and un-fuckage continues.
Vessel: Retirement. The clock is now UNDER three years. As it looks, i will be able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle without working again. This is amazing, and i should not squander such good fortune… Travel figures prominently in my future. More than a week on holiday here and there, there will be months spent on the road. Chasing the Northern Lights, hiking through the Sun Gate into Machu Picchu, being a volunteer SCUBA diver supporting reef health monitoring in a variety of warm climates….
i must continue to un-fuck my body… the vessel that will carry me forward (with any luck) into some ridiculous adventures ahead. This is a lifetime thing, not a ‘one year and done’ endeavor. Having a reasonable exercise schedule ingrained gives me a decent start.
“Life is short. Death is forever. Nothing left undone. Go joyfully” – Alan Cottrill
This is my charge for the new year. The quarterly blog updates were helpful – i felt accountable. i’ll do the same this year – as much for myself as for your entertainment!
As usual you look at life the way it is – not the way the fairy tales portray it. Don’t long for retirement too hard, however. My human has tried it four times. He can’t handle it. Some do some don’t.
Your human seems to be pretty good at reinventing himself! No need to retire if you can try new things, and still get a paycheck! i’m likely to become more active in a variety of volunteer activities… There is a never-ending need for grant writers supporting non-profit organizations. i’m pretty good at battling bureaucracies and filling out forms!
The thing that stuck out was retirement. Jaysus. Just three years away. How does it feel? You (we’ve) been working–like–forever. How sweet is freedom going to taste? A comfortable retirement is the greatest reward there is.
Don’t get too introspective on us. You’re not going anywhere for a while. I’ve met you and you seem pretty healthy and happy to me.
i’m lucky. i started a co-op job when i was 19 and i’m still working for the mothership, so all that time counts… i’ve got in 33 years already… and after navigating some wickets, i’m back to doing hard core nerd work, and i’m loving what i do! i suspect i’ll be just as busy on the other side… developing a plan to be able to do volunteer work from wherever i happen to be in the world…
not really trying to be morbid, just realistic. when i’m off farting around halfway around the world, there’s always a bit of guilt that i have responsibilities to take care of. if i get all of that squared away, the guilt will be minimized… that’s the thought, anyway.
What’s with the guilt? Jesus. What are you, Catholic? You earned it. Relax.
Loving your work means you won the contest. This, above all else, is most important thing. It’s how you spend most of your waking hours. Everything emanates from that.
if i leave the country for a few months before i’ve taken care of things that will likely lead to massive headaches for my spawn? it’s a buzzkill. maybe not guilt, because the little shits stand to get some free cash, so they should have to lift a finger to sort it out…. i just want it done so i don’t have to worry.
i DO love what i do professionally – have for the majority of the 33 years i’ve been at it. it’s the best thing… but i no longer define myself by my profession – in my mid-career, the time when i was a rock star? i was heavily defined by what i did. glad i shook that off, or i’d be one of those dudes that keeps working past retirement eligibility, and dies on the job (causing some supervisor a massive migraine due to the paperwork that has to be processed when THAT goes down).
My retirement was forced upon me. These days? I don’t know how I found the time to go to work. I suspect you will find that true as well.
Unfuckery? A work in progress. Always.
Unfuckery is my Holy Grail… and i suspect i’ll never be ‘done’. As busy as i am with various boards and volunteer work now? Expect that will fill some of the extra time. But not all of it. i want naps, damn it. i love naps….
unfuckery…i like that. right now i’m in that weird state where somethings are right side up and others are tearing my insides out. talk about it? deal with it? accept it? none of those seem possible, but i know i have to do something. xoxoxo
this is good: “Life is short. Death is forever. Nothing left undone. Go joyfully” – Alan Cottrill
i know this. i had thought i had taught it as well. . .
You ride a crazy coaster, Ms. Savannah… So many moving parts in your life, i think my head would spin too… Sometimes the best you can do is pick off the easy shots, and celebrate those victories. Sending more hugs and love to you and the krewe… Xoxoxo
Not a bad list for anyone. Especially those of a certain age. Try not to get too worked up about the weight thing. I think at a certain age trying to lose weight is fighting the last war. You have inspired me to try to unfuck my own self somewhat. After I get through these next two deadlines …
i know i’ll never be a tiny thing. my freakin’ skeleton is a size 8! i do need to knock off enough poundage to be able to do a bit more rigorous hiking. every pound i lose is another pound i can carry in a pack, and i will need it for what lies ahead. Here’s to clearing the deadlines and getting on with some unfuckery!
Just be careful when you get “No Regrets” tattoo’d on your forearm not to screw it up like that internet kid who had “No Ragrets” inked across his chest, something tells me he won’t make retirement age… and speaking of the “R” word i’ve been retired since i fell out of the womb, sure sometimes i’ve held jobs but that was more to keep me out of trouble with women and booze and drugs except of course when my job was women and booze and drugs… and nothing has hammered my mortality home more than the boyos, when i was young and stupid and nihilistic i thought i knew everything, now that i’m old and stupid and worry about the two yard apes constantly i know next to nothing but learn more every day, if i ever typed out all the shit that runs through my head worrying about those two they’d fit me for a little white coat and cell with soft and fluffy walls… but as you’ve done a fine job with your spawn you shouldn’t worry, i’m sure they’ll have a good time with the inheritance, i can only smile at when i think of all the fun that boy of yours will have, haha. I need to make sure all my i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed so that the boyos don’t fight over the books and records, you are a fine role model for us former degenerates, keep up the good work.
No tattoos on this lumpy ol’ body. i have commitment issues…
Your journey with the boyos… i get it… even though i was breeding at 24, it changed how i made every decision. The nightmares, the anxiety of ‘what if’… and hardest of all, letting them go, little by little. into the influence of the bigbadworld. teaching them to fend for themselves, preparing them to be able to live without me…. they would lurch, stumble, regroup, and make it the next try. the terrors of The Phone Call. jesuschrist, (i still have it, just not quite as bad). and then when they go… out and back at first, but then go. really go… i’m back to being on my own again. older, maybe a little bit smarter, and a lot less agile than i was before. i can be reckless again! i can do what i want! speedball to the ol’ finish line! except i really want to stick around to see how things turn out for them. to be there with them to celebrate All the Things. to grieve with them when the Things are bad and hurt. So it’s still here… you have all this to look forward to…
The Boy has been reading over at your place and is hooked. i suspect if he inherits some cash, he’d be willing to make a stop in the ‘burgh to share some of the fun! He’d appreciate a good tour guide…
The Boy seems like a fine lad indeed and the lounge is only gonna get weirder while i bang out the Wilderness Years, as you can probably tell i’m taking my time and not hitting “post” quite so fast, call it learning on my part, it’s still rough around the edges and will need polished when i submit my memoirs but we’ll get there, part 6 of the current non-sense should be up soon…
looking forward to it! when i read your posts, i always make sure i’m not rushed, have your soundtrack playing, and just roll into it…
You never cease to amaze me with your brave, clear-eyed outlook on life, daisyfae. (And that’s not just the cough syrup talking.)
It’s a work in progress (always), but thank you! Hoping you’re feeling better soon, or at least have the really good cough syrup to get you through!
Over the years,I’ve met some people who have ignored Life, some who’ve rushed into it and been bundled out pretty quickly. And then…there are the ones who done it the right way.For those people, Life is a tapestry, maybe with a wobbly warp, perhaps some lumpy knots and a little frayed. But, by gum!it’s a fine blanket and will go on keeping them cosy when they need it and still be good enough to toss on the grass to look at the stars.
I like your blanket, Daisyfae.Too bad you can’t write out the pattern for the strugglers.Here’s to seeing many more stars.
That was lovely! Thank you! i like my blanket, even though it’s starting to smell a little funky, it’s mine and it keeps me warm. i also like it to be big enough to share – and i’m glad you’ve found a spot to sit, and share your own tapestry! Here’s to more adventures ahead!
Oh, I’ll raise a glass to that!