What’s on My Mind: Things No One Wants to Discuss Yet Ought To
Let’s face it, most people get uncomfortable discussing what-if type scenarios especially if they appear to be negative or stressful in nature. Many instinctively react after something bad has already happened; few know how to respond in preparation of potential impending doom. As I discuss and teach about in my book, Be Your Own Superhero; A Road Map to Resilience When Faced with Chronic Dis-ease, although one typically presumes the apocalypse never occurs, it’s advantageous to be prepared anyway. No one could have ever predicted the advent of coronavirus. This apocalypse is upon us and will most likely be around for the foreseeable future. I want you to know that it’s not too late to get your act together.
Many of you may be tuning out about now…not wanting to discuss topics of severe illness or death. But guess what? Whether it’s now or later, you will eventually die. No one gets out of this adventure called Life alive. You cannot control this fact. However, you can control how you are treated when you are sick (to a degree), who can make decisions on your behalf when you are unable, and how to shut down your life when the inevitable happens. You can also be prepared to take care of yourself, your family and neighbors should the need arise.
Now and in the future, here’s a checklist to consider:
- Make sure you have plenty of supplies in the house at any given time. This includes first-aid items; a minimum of a 2-week supply of medications; batteries of all sizes; canned soups, cereals and other nonperishable groceries; extra bottled water; matches; candles; flashlights; and anything you cannot live without. Coronavirus and the ensuing panic/hording has also taught me to add to that list crucial items such as toilet paper, paper towel, face tissue, bar soap, hand soap, rags, hand sanitizer, house sanitizing cleaning products, gloves and masks or cotton bandanna scarves. And if you have the space, stock the freezer.
- Have a Health Directive and Health Power of Attorney completed, witnessed and signed. Every adult should have a health directive that explains in detail the type of health care you wish to receive in case of emergency or simply planning ahead for when you’re unable to express those decisions for yourself. The Health Power of Attorney is a legal document stating who can be your voice when you’re unable – designating someone whom you trust to be your advocate regarding matters of your health. Consult an attorney for more information.
- And as much as no one ever wants to discuss death and dying, as I stated before, it is a fact of life we all must accept. With that said, every adult – especially those with spouses and/or dependents – ought to have a will. If a person dies without a will, the estate can get tied up and much of it may go to the state government and not heirs or charity. No one wants that. Write out a will, even a simple one, to ensure your loved ones are cared for in your absence. Again, consult an attorney.
- Consider writing a legacy letter to your relatives. Not everyone feels comfortable discussing their life stories, thoughts or values with others. And sometimes kids just don’t want to hear their parents talk about their past. A legacy letter can help you pass on your stories, values and life lessons to the next generation.
- Finally, leave detailed instructions on how someone you trust can shut down your life when the time comes. Leave a letter detailing explicitly where you have bank accounts, what credit cards you hold and corresponding account information, any financial holdings and contact information, social media accounts, physicians, lawyers, accountants, etc. Create a complete list of accounts with corresponding logins and passwords including how to access your computer and/or cell phone if you have one that is password protected. And don’t just give hints! Leave actual passwords or someone might never figure it all out. Put everything in a safe or bank box and give a copy to your attorney and/or person you trust to execute all of the above when needed.
I don’t mean to be morbid with this newsletter however I do want you to be prepared. We are living through unprecedented times when the unexpected can happen in the blink of an eye (and did). I would be remiss not to share these suggestions with you in the event these things haven’t crossed your mind. I want you all to live a long, healthy life filled with much happiness. I also want you to be prepared to respond when sh*t happens instead of reacting in panic; knowing you’ve got this and can handle it.
Be Present | Be Purposeful | Be Well