The Child is home from her first year at university and with a little over a month of holiday left, she cannot wait to get back. Cannot blame her. She came home from school in May and had 2 weeks to “chill” before leaving for Sweden for 5 weeks. Art department study abroad trip; two classes in Sweden with weekend jaunts to Copenhagen, Oslo, Gothenburg and Stockholm. Oh to be a college student again! The excitement, the challenges, the social life- all that learning to be had.
Which leads me to ponder, why- in my 50’s- do I suddenly feel like “Yah- I finally know how to do stuff now. I know how things work… I am prepared.” Like The Child, I got it by the ass, so to speak. I can fix things, cook things, grow things and balance a checkbook. And do taxes. So why does it take a good 30 years of precious clock-ticking time to become adept at daily tasks and more, only to do so on the “supposed” midlife point of life? Who lives till 100? Is it really all downhill from here? Did it take me that long to become a competent person?
I certainly hope not. Looking ahead to another active 25-30 years would be great. Really. The challenge now is planning ahead for that future and it isn’t exactly the way we planned for things when we were younger. Need to look a little further than this weekend’s beer money.
We are getting the farm inspected for two animal welfare organizations and that entailed making a written “farm plan” which covers everything, including disasters. That activity made me look at our own personal plans, consisting of a poorly-written will that was made almost 20 years ago. Things have changed now; The Child is grown, we live on a farm and spouse is retired. Are we really prepared for the future? What if one of us kicks off, or both? How loose are those loose ends? The thoughts are downright scary- it would be a mess.
However, I am not one to sit back, hope for the best, and wait. The new updated will is almost complete and like the farm plan, we have to force ourselves to look ahead, plan for disasters, and ask, “Where do we see ourselves in 20 years? Will we be able to farm as we do now, as 92 and 72 year olds?”
The logical answer is “hardly,” so we need to make an exit plan for the farm. Emergency algorithms. 5 Year Plans. Cutting back little by little till it would be very manageable for one of us to manage the livestock and farm, or even perhaps to have all the livestock gone by X-date. Older stock would retire, young sold off as replacements. Hard to think about it, really, but it need to be done.
Passwords are being categorized, financial documents and accounts all gathered and listed. Trying to be as efficient with “end of life” planning as well as I made that year-round livestock grazing plan. No, I am not planning on exiting any time soon, but it does seem mighty morbid. Part of me wonders if my friends have already done this; am I late? Who cares? It is getting done and that is the important thing.
Already I am feeling a bit relieved with the efforts. It is like cleaning out a cupboard one shelf at a time. Eventually the job/plan will be done and I will be able to look at it with satisfaction, and a bit of relief. We have put this sort of “forward thinking” on the back burner for quite a while and now that the job is being tackled, I feel like I can sew another merit badge on my Sash-o-Life Accomplishments: Perhaps an icon of a donkey with the legend Got it by the Ass.