Mediation Advantage January 2019

JAN 2019

(508) 795-1557 | LIFE IN BALANCE


R ecently, I had the opportunity to hear Michelle Obama speak about her new book, “Becoming.” One of the big takeaways from her speech was about learning not to be afraid of the swerves life brings. Most people have a checklist of how they’re going to live their lives, but more often than not, life doesn’t fit into a nice, neat box. You have to be flexible and embrace the journey you’re on, with all its twists and turns. Mrs. Obama’s words were aimed toward the younger folks approaching life changes, but they resonated with everyone in the audience. Have you ever looked at a friend or neighbor’s life and assumed it must be perfect? Everyone thinks that someone else’s life is perfect. The reality is you don’t know the struggles others are facing every day. Even Michelle and Barack went through marriage counseling to get to where they are. Unless you’re really close to someone, you may not see the struggles they are facing. What’s important to learn is that even when life doesn’t go according to plan, you can always realign, shift focus, and overcome the challenges you’re facing. It’s something I’m thinking about in our journey caring for three little boys. Having these three boys is one of life’s swerves that I’m embracing. While the circumstances that brought the boys under our care was something of a swerve, they’ve brought so much joy to our home. We recognize that we’re providing security and safety for the boys, but they’re providing so much more for us. They remind Jasmine and I to be grateful. The little milestones they have, like the 2-year-old beginning to put sentences together, make us feel grateful and blessed that they are in our lives. We’re really trying to get away from the commercialization of the holidays and focus on what’s important, and while there are challenges (there always are), the boys remind us of how much more valuable relationships are than material things. Their little voices, smiles, and hugs brighten my morning. Sure, we could stress about all the imperfections and difficulties. But seeing their faces first thing in the morning — children wake up so happy — starts my day off better. We should be holding on to that.

Over the holidays, we had a visit from my grandmother, who’s 96, and my mother. My grandmother serenaded us with songs and shared her wisdom from a life

well-lived. It was one big happy family with Jasmine, the boys, my grandma, my mother, and

me. We were thankful to have that time with them as another reminder to enjoy the present moment and embrace the imperfections.

When it comes to balance, especially around the holidays, forget about the idea of perfection. Take care of yourself. Give yourself some permission to put yourself first, whether it’s meal prep, exercise, whatever it is —make time each and every day to focus on yourself. Then, you can care for your family better. As you’re settling into the new year, make to-do lists and get organized, and keep your estate plan in mind. If you need to update your health care proxy or change a benefactor, it’s an opportunity to do that. And if you don’t have an estate plan in place, meet with me and let’s make one.

Then enjoy the rest, embracing each swerve and imperfection that life brings.

MONTHLY CHALLENGE My monthly challenge to you this January is to devote some time to your estate plan. In the next 30 days, determine what needs to happen to get it up to date, or to make one for the first time, then schedule that meeting.

—Polly Tatum

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