About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fun Monday - Unfinished Business

"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin--real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."

--Father Alfred D'Souza

This week's Fun Monday topic--dealing with unfinished business--is important to anyone who tries to manage the ever changing circumstances of daily living and have a halfway decent life. And don't we all? Our host for January is Ari at Prawn of Fate and here's her question for the 10th: from the mundane to the emotional, from paneling the basement walls to patching it up with the brother in VA you haven't spoken to since you voted for Carter and he didn't. Unfinished business is something left undone or incomplete. It even can haunt you. What's your unfinished business?

Well Ari, my basement does need a serious clearing out and cleaning, and has needed it for about five years. I did vote for Carter, but am not sure that my brother (in TN) did, but there was a time when I "divorced" him over a family situation. We've since reconciled, but are not close. Our relationship doesn't haunt me any more, but it did at one time.

Going back to Fr. D'Souza's quote and drilling down to the impact of unfinished business on our lives, there was a time when I may have lived in a bit of suspended animation, putting of moving ahead with living because of some perceived obstacle. Usually that obstacle was something unimportant. You know the bargains we make with ourselves, lose 25 pounds and you can get a new wardrobe, clean your office and then work on the presentation for tomorrow's meeting--that kind of nonsense. I've left a trail of those things undone in over 60 years.

However, when it comes to big decisions about what to do with my life, I am bold, independent, and fearless. Even in my teens I soon learned that in life the stars were never going to be perfectly aligned. If I wanted something badly, I stepped out into uncertainty and never looked back. Went to college with no money. Moved to a new state with no job waiting. Bought a house without the requisite 10% down payment. Adopted a border collie and found us a home after getting evicted. Traveled to many foreign countries and lived on my own in one for three years. Retired as soon as possible without listening to all the financial planner advice about how much one needs to have in the retirement nest egg.

There is one area of unfinished business that I'm determined to get done--that's planning for my senior living and beyond! That may seem a bit macabre to you, but it does have some humorous moments. Throughout my life, except for some wonderful friends, I've had only myself to depend on. It has allowed me great freedom, but, at the same time, is a bit scary when I think of growing old alone. So, for the past couple of years I've been trying to get my house in order so that the friend who has lovingly agreed to be my power of attorney and health care surrogate (or, as we call her "my nurse executioner") will have it as easy as possible to settle my affairs. I bought this wonderful planning book, BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE by Emily Oishi & Sue Thompson, and have recorded all manner of personal, legal, financial, estate, and end of life provisions under one cover. My "executioner" knows that this booklet and everything else she needs to fulfill her duties can be found in the left hand drawer of the file cabinet in my office cubbyhole. We've had many laughs about this process, the latest being disposal of my ashes. She doesn't have to take them and put them on her mantel. Instead, she's to make sure that the funeral director sets my urn on the shelf at the funeral home beside someone who's interested in good books, dogs, films, and travel! I certainly don't want to be bored for eternity!

So Ari, there you have my most pressing unfinished business and I'm pretty close to moving it to the "finished" column. Can't wait to see what other Fun Monday players have on their unfinished list--mundane or otherwise.


Sayre said...

The final unfinished business... I need to do something about that myself, perhaps even moreso than you as I have a son to get finished raising if I'm not on hand to do the job. I don't really have any assets of my own (and debt which someone's going to inherit), but I did invest in some life insurance, which will pay off my debt, get me planted, and help my husband finish raising the boy. So I guess I've taken a step in the right direction there.

Sandy said...

I love this, Faye! I especially love the "nurse executioner". My daughter has been threatening to send me to a state run home in a state other than Texas so may it's time to get it all in writing.

Cousin M said...

I've always admired your grit, lady - wish I had more of it myself, maybe I would have stepped into more "unknowns." As for finishing, hubby & I have a plan for our decline that hopefully will not saddle our daughter with painful decisions (we've been there/done that/don't wish it on anyone!). It also eliminates the possibility of her placing us in a convenient store & lock - a secret plan we've accused her of having.

Jill said...

We have no will. I keep telling my hubby we should get to that, but he hasn't made the call. We both have life insurance, though, with K as the beneficiary (and spouse of course).

Debs Carr said...

You sound very organized. This post reminds me that I should get my unfinished business sorted too. It's one of those things that keep being listed as a 'To Do' each year and then forgotten.

Molly said...

As usual Faye, you seem quite wise as well as adventuresome. I guess that I have become somewhat more adventuresome in my old age. I admire that you have made plans for your older age. Now this Nurse Executioner isn't a member of a Death Panel is she? (Forgive me...I couldn't resist.)

Seriously, I will look for the book.

Molly said...

You are right Faye. For saving your pictures and other important documents, you might use an external hard drive that plugs into a USB port. The Geek Squad should be able to help you with that, but the process is relatively easy.

ari_1965 said...

Have you given her specs on the urn? Since she's your friend, I assume she has good taste. But you just never know about people. She might get a wild hair up and decide to put your ashes in a cow-themed plastic canister from IKEA. There you'd be on the shelf with the tasteful pottery and marble urns making fun of you and whispering cracks like, "Who's the Swede?" and "Did she bring any lingonberries?" and "I'm melting!" I think you should put those urn specs in writing right away.

Sign up for Jan 17th Fun Monday here

The Church Lady said...

Preparing for your future is a biggie. I think we need to have a sense of humor when it comes to our own mortality. That is funny about the urn!

alaurie said...

Oh, Faye, how could I have forgotten the unfinished final business. I've been meaning to call a lawyer who has my Last Will and Testament in her files. Not so much a last will, I bet, since it was done over ten years ago. Not that I have large assets, but I certainly need to take care with updating my bequests as best I can. Thanks for reminding me -- maybe I'll get ahold of the book you recommend to see if there's anything I missed back then.

Jan n Jer said...

This is a great post Faye...it reminds us all of our imortality...like Jer always says..
"None of us is getting out alive"
We do have a will and power of attorney, but thats as far as we have gotten. Now with the latest health issues with Jer...we are going to bite the bullet and plan for entering into eternity. I hate loose ends and this has been on my mind for a long time. People just dont like to talk about it...but if you have clear laid out plans, it does make the event much easier on the ones left behind. Also...planning for living into real old age...where to live what to do. So much to think about. I am going to look for that book you suggested.