As I was writing my last post my observations about powers of attorney and estate documents triggered some thoughts about responsibility that I think everyone’s children and grandchildren should consider as they come of age.
Life is a blessing. When we become adults, if we get to become adults, we become responsible for how we live our lives and what we do to and with ourselves. Sometimes circumstances take away our ability to remain responsible for our lives. Ultimately all corporeal life has an end. We all will face it, we just don’t know when.
Planning for the end of life as we know it is something most of us put off way too long. But planning for that eventuality is part of becoming a responsible adult. Responsible adults plan for situations when they lose the ability to remain responsible for their lives. Responsible adults plan for that certain time when they will no longer be responsible for their stuff, for everything they will leave behind.
Responsible adults think about what they would want done and whom they would want to assume responsibility for them when they can no longer do and decide things for themselves. And responsible adults decide in advance what they want done with everything they will leave behind.
The day you come of age is not too soon to think about these things. Age 22 is not too soon to think about advanced medical directives and durable powers of attorney for health care if something should happen to you. Age 22 is not too soon to think about whom should assume responsibility for your stuff when you’re no longer here.
I waited until I was 37 to prepare my first will. I waited until I was 62 to prepare my first advanced medical directive and healthcare power of attorney. I’ve been lucky to live a long and good life. People like Sarah Burke, extreme skier, age 29, and Sarah Jones, dolly grip and second AC, age 27, were not.
Do not take the chance of saddling your parents or your children or a stranger with making healthcare and estate distribution decisions without the benefit of your thoughts and desires. Your loss will be more than painful enough for them to bear.
Taking responsibility is much more than making career decisions and raising families and behaving in acceptable and non-harmful ways. Taking responsibility is planning for that time when you can’t take responsibility anymore; that time when you must entrust the responsibility for you to a responsible person you can trust. Prepare, and choose wisely; but do not wait. Face your life and your mortality early, thoughtfully, and bravely; and free yourself to live your life fully and confidently.
Love…Dad, Pops, Grandpa and Pop-pop