Friday, July 19, 2024

Grand Plans: How to Mitigate Geri-Drama in 20 Easy Steps

HomeMoneyGrand Plans: How to Mitigate Geri-Drama in 20 Easy Steps

by Susanna Barton

Greetings, Grand Planners! It’s February – the month of Valentine’s Day and love and the sweetness of our lives. It’s also time for Step 2 of Grand Plans: How to Mitigate Geri-Drama in 20 Easy Steps. This step is considering how we will memorialize ourselves and show loved ones how much we care. This is a wonderful opportunity to account for the highlights of our life story and write it down so others will know it – and be able to share it.

This mission is a real labor of love – as sweet as a “Be Mine” or “Kiss Me” or “Hot Stuff” candy, an endeavor that will make your family swoon with thoughts of “You Rock” “4EVER.”

Like most important life tasks, this process begins with reflection. I, for example, might sit down at the beach with a hefty pour of chardonnay. Whatever your best-case thinking place looks like, go there and get busy itemizing your major life events, achievements, and people who have been meaningful in your life. Think about your values and beliefs and how you want to be remembered.

If you’ve been in Jacksonville long enough, you’ll remember the story of local public relations expert Bonnie Phillips Upright’s mother and the viral memorial she penned for herself. This first-person piece was so beautiful and well-written that it was plagiarized over and over again – coast to coast! While a terrible situation for Bonnie and her family, it’s certainly a testament to the richness of the memoriam’s reflective content.

Your musings don’t have to be viral-worthy. Start with the basics. At a minimum, highlight a few dates, times, and places. Consider graduation and wedding dates, names of your parents, siblings, spouses, and children, degrees you may have achieved and when (and from where!), places you worked, and organizations important to you. Maybe some significant accomplishments define you, so write those down, too! Was travel your thing? Reflect on a few trips that influenced your life in some way.

When you’re done, file the information somewhere safe and tell your loved ones where they can find it in case they need or want to put it out on the interwebs one day. If you already have written down life highlights, but did so many years ago, think about dusting off your composition and updating it now and again. Giving thought and framework to your life story is an empowering way to take control of your narrative and leave a lasting impression on your loved ones. It allows you to preserve your legacy in a way that genuinely reflects who you are and how you want to be remembered.

Whatever it is you envision, write it all down and tell someone about it. Do whatever brings you peace because that will, in turn, bring your people peace when it comes to sharing your story. And that is, “True Love” “4EVER.”  

Susanna Barton has worked as a professional writer in Jacksonville for nearly 30 years. Her book Grand Plans: How to Mitigate Geri-Drama in 20 Easy Steps and its accompanying workbook, the Grand Planner, are available in local stores and on Amazon.

Photo Credit Top: Los Muertos Crew

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