Brrr. I am penned in by snow, ice and brutal cold in rural eastern North Carolina, so my winter-bound tasks, besides writing, are two things: 1) death cleaning and 2) tax prep.
Death cleaning is the current popular term for “don’t leave a mess for your children.” That means organizing, simplifying and downsizing. In three years I have age-appropriately moved to a quieter community, live in a one-level home near good medical facilities and continue to shed excess belongings. My current donation pile will go to a yard sale at the Harrison Center for Active Aging in Selma later this month.
Tax prep means shredding old papers and stacking a neat pile of 2017 papers for the tax service. I’ve got three bags ready for recycling. This year we expect a tax credit on the electric Chevy Bolt we bought to replace the 17-year-old Saturn we donated to a local church. (Thank you, Kayne Karnbach, for the Plug-In event you held in front of the Manassas Museum five years ago.)
Going through old papers, the annual holiday contact with friends, has brought news of more friends’ passing – belatedly (he passed in 2016) Bud Brown, a director I worked with at WXII-TV in Winston-Salem in the late 1970s. I remember Bud as a maverick, a young Orson Welles – someone who couldn’t be contained by a small market TV station. He went on to achieve great things.
And Steve Randolph, former council member and vice mayor of the City of Manassas, Virginia. Steve was a tall presence at so many community events. I loved how he would comment on current city events on local blogs by pulling up quotes from articles in the old city newspaper – just as relevant today as they were a hundred years ago.
Well, as soon as these tax papers are done, I’m heading out into the world again. I have several community projects I want to accomplish in 2018.
Besides, I’m not even old enough to get the senior discount at Town Market yet. My nonagenarian friends would snort at my dwelling on death and taxes. At 94, Donna Leach in Arkansas still teaches reading to two girls at the local middle school. And Bob McClelland, 94, wore a pink hat during the Women’s March on Washington DC last January and has several graduations and a wedding to attend this year.
“…in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” – attributed to Ben Franklin in a 1789 letter
Millennials don’t want our “stuff” – sets of china gathering dust. They want us active in our lives — and their lives. What are you going to do this year?