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Planning My Exit

Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis

As a special treat to myself on my seventieth birthday, I went on a retreat in California.  It was a time of personal introspection, growth, exercise, and healthy eating. There were about 250 other attendees, but I went alone.  It was a mixed group of folks from all over the US and several other countries. I probably was one of the older attendees, although I met a delightful woman who, at 90, put everyone in the yoga class to shame! Needless to say, there were many great conversations with a diverse group of people of all ages.  A typical introduction might include your reason for attending. I began answering that question, almost jokingly, by saying that I was planning my exit.

That brought some curious responses, such as, “Are you moving or getting a divorce?”  But I was talking about my final exit--- wanting to plan it and do it well. When I signed up for the retreat, I was more focused on the relaxing time away, but it became very apparent to me that I was there for a deeper purpose.   At this time in my life, I’m very conscious of course corrections that I should make or just want to make. Recognizing my life expectancy is closing in, I want to make sure that these last years are the best of my life. Death is a sure thing - and I embrace that to the best of my ability - but living to your fullest is optional. I meet plenty of people who are settling for a mere waiting game, filling their lives with doctors’ appointments and Wheel of Fortune.  Many people think that pre-planning their funeral is their last decision. Why not pre-plan your goals and activities for the last years of your life? Continuing to live fully isn’t an accident; it’s a choice! Having this exit conversation makes some people very uncomfortable, and I’m sorry about that. But being intentional about the end of life makes so much more sense than drifting to a cemetery plot.


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