I'm often asked where I get my seemingly bottomless trough of ideas for my articles. It's been 11 years now, and they seem to keep coming and coming- from everyday experiences with people just like you and life in general. This month however, I've decided to make it all about me, me me. As narcissistic as it may sound, I too have a life outside this magazine (Don't tell Phil) and have my ups and downs, just like you. The past 3 months though, have been seen the scales tip in the downward side, much more than usual.
In November, I had a car accident that left me quite broken, both in body and soul. I was tooling along in my Bullitt Mustang at a blazing 30 MPH with a green light all the way when another soul missed the red light, causing me to hit him broadside, essentially like hitting a brick wall. Needless to say, as the ambulance closed the back door it was the Iast I would see of my prized Bullitt, and a period of therapy to get both body and mind back in working order. Then, to add insult to injury (there's a joke there, but I pass) this past week I was in Newark airport when I missed a bottom step doing quite a job om my foot and ankle- needless to say, the start of golf season just got pushed back another 3 months. Now, I've always subscribed to the belief that if you pay enough attention to what is going on around you, there is a lesson to be learned if you slow down enough to read the tea leaves. Being that I'm sitting here with my foot elevated and nowhere to go, it gives me time to reflect on how these chains of events have affected me and brought me to the thought... how prepared was I for this two stage-catastrophe?
I reflected on my legal documents- all in order, but I have been saying that they could use a little touching up to changes in family and business circumstances. I admit, it's a little like the story of the shoemakers children- I'm always so busy taking care of everyone else's finances and estate planning, mine got shoved a bit aside. Time to toddle over to the legal department (when I am up to toddling) and get the rest of my legals in order.
I thought about where all of my important documents are- check. In one place and easily accessible. Not in the back in a safe deposit box, but in a place easily accessible if needed where both Elizabeth and my kids know exactly where to find them. It's just papers with no value to anyone other than my family, so no need to lock them up like they were gold bars... they have no value, so let's keep them handy. The same with all life insurance policies, and a list of all our family professionals- lawyer, account, doctors- anyone and everyone who knows things about me.
When was the last time I checked the beneficiary designations on my life insurance and retirement plan paperwork? Just recently, coincidently... all in order and correct. Same for car and homeowner's insurance- I just did a review last year, so I know it's all in order, coverages up to date and policy coverage correct and in line with today's values. You'd be amazed how many people haven't look at their coverage since they wrote their policies... not good. Life changes, and so do values and economics.
I keep a list of my special things I want to go to special people- my antique guitar, watches... things that mean a great deal to me and I want to make sure they end up in the right hands. The deed to the house is up to date and taken care of, I've even cleaned out the garage on a regular basis so as not to leave a mess to anyone, not to mention the delight in actually finding that which I am looking for.
So, it seems I'm in pretty good shape, for the shape I'm in. Thank goodness both the accident and fall could have been much worse, and with a little R&R and a little help from my friends, I'll be back in action before you know it. I always say, it's my goal to learn something new every day. I hope my experience has taught; you a thing or two... be prepared for the expected, the unexpected and the downright unfair...