Don’t Prepare for Your Own Death
Matt Richtel starts out, “Before I go on vacation, even for a week, I prepare as though I’m headed to the coroner. I empty the in-box, clean the piles on the desk, put away all the laundry, dust. On the face of it I’m just getting my personal effects in order so that, presuming I survive my vacation, I also spend it worry-free, liberated to enjoy things to the fullest. But in the process, experts say, I am also significantly raising the stakes for my impending trip.”
He goes on to link preparation with over-expectations about the trip, which is not part of my problem--I’ve rarely had a vacation I didn’t love. I never have the feeling that I have to see every museum, cathedral, or historic site in a particular place since I “might never be back again,” or that I have to go to the beach every day on another type of vacation to “get my money’s worth.” In the long run, what does it matter? It’s the experience you’re having that counts, and if it’s sipping cappucino while reading a book on the front porch or in a French cafe, that’s what you’ll remember fondly.
But part of me acts as if I will never get home again, something akin to the awe I feel when we turn down our street after being away for several weeks and see the house still there. This year I realized that, though Andy and Robin have our wills, there is a lot of specific financial information they should have as well, so I’m mailing them copies of that. If I have time, I’m going to go through other papers, books etc. in my office and discard anything now outdated so that no one else has to.
The last time Houdini left his beloved house he wept, having a premonition that he would never see it again. He challenged people in his audience to punch him in the stomach as hard as they could, but this time he didn’t prevail. His premonition came true.
But who knows? He may have wept every time he left home with that same premonition, and nobody bothered to comment on that.
The point is that getting ready for vacation is a good time to think about what you’re leaving behind, if only temporarily.
Since I'll be leaving the Internet behind--I don't know if the houses we're renting in England even have WiFi--this may be the last Monday Morning Challenge for a couple of weeks.