So this is the week I have to write a will. I face serious surgery soon, a hip replacement on February 6, and don’t have one and have assets and so this is the responsible thing to do.
Insert long string of curses here.
Can I please have a martini? Can I go shoe-shopping? Where’s my new J. Crew catalogue?
Whaddya mean I have to envision myself dead?
Would I rather, my lawyer/friend asks me smoothly, on speakerphone — as if asking if I prefer a latte or cappuccino — be cremated or buried? How about life support if I turn into a vegetable in the OR?
I mutter sullen, infantile monosyllables. The truth? I have no fucking idea.
Do I really have to make these decisions now?
I haven’t (yes, very irresponsible of me) had a will since 1982. Yes, things have changed since then! I’m fortunate enough to have some savings, own a home and some material objects of value.
I also have no kids, the default winners-take-all. It gets trickier then.
Who gets the stuff? Who gets my money — and how much and when? Do I want to make individual bequests? Of what? To whom?
A will, literally, is the posthumous expression of…my will.
So my husband, of course, will get most of it. (You knew that, honey, right?)
But I want to leave some to my favorite public radio stations, and to a dear friend whose life choices didn’t earn her a ton. After that…?
I really wish I had had amassed the dough to endow some sort of fellowship or scholarship, because that’s what I value most: learning, wisdom, travel, sharing insights across cultures.
It’s going to make for some interesting thinking.
The wealthiest people have their names on college gyms, hospital wings, stadiums and museum galleries as their legacies. However comforting, thousands of strangers will see their names.
For the rest of us, whatever we are able to leave behind materially presents a set of more private, perhaps more challenging decisions.
Have you made out a will?
How did that feel?