First, let me decode some language for you. “Advanced Planning” and “Future Life Preferences” is code language for preparations we make (or not) for that final stretch of life we euphemistically refer to as our “sunset” years, hence the name of my podcast. This stretch terminates with death, which we again circumlocute (a long, complicated word meaning to “beat around the bush”) by rebranding death as end-of-life. Duh.
Spiritual Goals/Practical Steps
Most of us avoid thinking about death for all sorts of understandable reasons. All of my early shows were spent digging into those reasons (pun intended). With help from my amazing guests, I learned a fair bit about death, dying and the afterlife.
Freaky and weird I may be, but morbid I am not. My belief is that an honest, unflinching look at death, a perfectly natural and unavoidable process, helps us live fuller and more abundant lives ~ an idea I borrowed from the Buddhists.
Analysis of death is not for the sake of becoming fearful but to appreciate this precious lifetime. — Dalai Lama
Doing that soul work helps one to accept death, plan for a beautiful one, and most importantly, embrace every precious moment of life as a miraculous gift to be savored and cherished.
The most important goal is the soul work, because I believe, as author and psychiatrist M. Scott Peck said in his landmark book “The Road Less Travelled”:
The ultimate goal of life remains the spiritual growth of the individual, the solitary journey to peaks that can be climbed only alone.
That goal has nothing to do with how many toys you collect or what positions you’ve held, but everything to do with what kind of person you are becoming. Life is a spiritual journey ~ everything else is secondary.
But then, there are some very practical tasks that deserve your attention, and as I’ve said, if you don’t plan your life (or your death) then someone else will plan it for you. If you’re like me, then having someone else drive is NOT what you want. I want to chart my own course and sail it, thank you very much.
Planning ahead offers flexibility, not just for you, but for those you leave behind. I have three kids, and I don’t want to be a burden to them as I approach end-of-life, so I choose to make my preferences known now while I am still able to consider my options and decide for myself.
Yeah, I know, we are all crazy busy, and most of us would rather have a root canal than think about that time when the party is winding down. But if you are a Boomer like I am, then you need to take some time to think about this stuff. To make it easier for you, see my #1 tip for getting started with advanced planning. It’s a short read, but an important one.
Options. That’s the key word here. You want to keep as many options open for yourself as you can, because ya’ know, things can change (and will) in ways you can’t anticipate, and you don’t want to get boxed in (pun intended), figuratively or literally. So get started now by seeing my #1 tip for getting started.
Why Did You Start at the End, Brant?
For some insight into why I started my own personal journey with end-of-life issues, take a look at this video I produced.