Thinking About Life
iStock IMG #1314559532

Thinking About Life

I have so many stories that I could share about people and their possessions.

My dad loved his clothing and often chose to wear brightly coloured shirts and bowties.  He took such good care of them and made sure that the collars were starched and pressed before he put them on.  He always looked and felt good.  Unfortunately, when he died no one wanted these treasured items.  My son took a bowtie to wear for occasions that required costuming and I have a little box with a wallet, pin and booklet but the other things weren’t wanted by anyone.

Over the years, I have also gathered some things that likely will never have the emotional attachment from others that I have given them.  Moving to Calgary this year gave me a glimpse into this as family members were discussing what to keep and what to get rid of.  They didn’t have the stories and context that gave the things importance.  An old bowl that my mother used hold mail, for example, had previously belonged to her mother.  It was made in the late 1800s and today has both financial and emotional value.

Sometimes people become so attached to items that they step over the line into hoarding.  They surround themselves with so many things that no one knows what to do to restore the environment back to health and safety.

When it comes to estates, I have seen family members argue over “stuff”.  Some want to ignore everything while others just want to give it all away.  Other families spend time, money and energy wrangling over things that they all want.  Many end up in Court because they can’t agree.

Well, I am facing my seventieth birthday in a couple of weeks and jokingly state that I plan to live long enough to wear everything out and spend all the money!

Actually, I am doing a number of things which you might consider for yourself 

  1. Focus on health – I ensure that I attend medical appointments and follow recommendations. Recently I invested in a therapeutic walk-in tub for my main bathroom and a vibrational plate for under my office desk.  I sit outside on my patio as often as I can and ensure that I eat nutritious food that I grow and prepare in my indoor garden and kitchen.
  2. Simplify – Change can be stressful but learning new software can, in the long run save time and energy. When your closet and drawers only hold fashions you like that are clean, suitable and in good repair, life is easier, and you can look your best.
  3. Work with trustworthy professionals. I am fortunate to have found a wonderful credentialled accountant, financial planner and lawyer, all of whom have helped me make good financial and end of life plans.
  4. Embrace variety – I continue to work because I love it and my clients state I am helpful to them but now I only work three days a week. This gives me time to do other interesting things such as reading, playing canasta, talking with friends and family but also am able to invest extra minutes to chat with others at the mailbox or in the elevator.
  5. Enjoy gifting others – Often, when someone admires something of mine, I just give it to them! I would rather share what I have now with someone who will appreciate and use it than leave it for someone to sort out down the road.  My daughter lives in Okotoks and they have a place I call “The Someone Needs Me” shop.  I am not from the disposable generation and so take or send things there knowing that someone will be blessed with things I don’t need.
  6. Bring out your creative self – It is never too late to draw a picture, sew a project or sing a song. Think of the skills that you haven’t been using for a long time and start doing them again.  Even just learning about another person and then finding an interesting way to meet their needs is a wonderful way to share.
  7. End well – You don’t have to figure out exactly when, how or where you will be headed but it is a good idea to consider the options and your choices! You can save others a lot of grief if you have talked with family and written down the way you would like to exit this life and leave a legacy.


This week, think about what you have learned from the stories of other people and how you can craft your whole life story with dignity and grace.

Back to blog