Friday, January 20, 2012

where there's a will...

Yesterday I went to sort out a will, for the first time. Despite having grown up knowing what a hassle it was to die intestate (ie without one) I'd put it off for years, about um, well 20 of them. Partly through uncertainty of cost, partly through uncertainty of life and partly because I'd never got my act together. But one of the wonders of facebook are those random prompts in life - Cathy (in the UK) mentioned it was her new year resolution to write hers and how her union did them for free, I commented wondering if that was the case here too and Marion (yes the same one!) pointed out that whilst my union probably didn't, Public Trust did.

So a few days, a few clicks of the mouse and a couple of phonecalls later there I was 2 mins around the corner from home completing the forms!

It was a rather strange process to go through - what of my stuff was actually worth itemising and gifting to particular individuals? Not a lot really, if I was to get run over by a bus tomorrow then I'm sure I can think of a few folk who would appreciate my laptop, sewing machine and camera - but are they really worth listing now for the hopefully longer term? Okay so I was advised to update my will every 2-3yrs but even so...

Then there was the other side of things - who might want a memento or a particular item that had sentimental meaning, and who was I to decide that? So with the one exception of gifting to my godson the quilt I was making when he was born I left that for those who are left behind to worry about for me. Sorry and all that, I copped out.

It is an odd process, especially when you don't have a partner or children, to try to think about who might be around when you have no concept as to whether you are preparing for next week, year, decade or in 50yrs time (I'm reasonably sure I won't see the next centuary, living in two is enough methinks!). When I think about who was important in my life of my generation or younger say 10-15yrs ago and who is now, there are some pretty major shifts - including having shifted physically half way around the world! I guess that is why they suggest you keep it updated.

It is also odd dwelling on the thought of your own mortality, for a couple of my friends this is currently a very real issue for them, despite them both being almost a decade younger than me. One lifelong condition and one more recent, both have to deal with a large degree of uncertainty and the hope that they can live long enough for medical science to come up with a solution. It is one thing knowing that about someone, it is another to put yourself in their shoes, no matter how temporarily, and have to think through the implications of your death and what you want to happen to you and your stuff decades before your allotted three score year and ten. It isn't a comfortable feeling at all and it certainly shone new light for me on what everyday life can be like for others.

Cheery thoughts eh?

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