I spent the day after Thanksgiving giving my office a thorough, long overdue cleaning. It was awful, I have to admit. But in going through my bookshelf, I came across Elizabeth Bradford’s book, The Painted Journal. This book was given out at a conference several years ago, and during my break from cleaning, I flipped through the pages again. Ms. Bradford tells the story of deciding, on her 40th birthday, that every year thereafter she would give herself the gift of a new accomplishment. She started small, learning to bake a cake. But as she gained more confidence, she took on everything from using a skill saw to make repairs to her property to learning about the stock market to painting a picture every single day for one year.
I became inspired with the thought of taking on an annual challenge for myself, and started thinking about what I would do in 2014. I recalled a colleague, younger than I am, who passed very suddenly several months ago, but who was remarkably prepared in terms of her personal affairs. And despite my work in retirement and speaking to many women about preparedness, I couldn’t say that I was organized with regard to my personal documents. Yes, all the pieces and parts were there, but like my office, they were scattered in multiple locations and not easy to locate.
So – this is my personal challenge for 2014. Organize my financial documents, passwords, statements, even information about family heirlooms and their respective stories – in one place where my family can quickly put their hands on everything. Maybe this sounds a little grim, but I bet, when I’m done, I’ll feel just as good about it as I did when I finished organizing my office. And while I know I’ll feel great about it when I’m done, I do plan to make my 2015 “accomplishment gift” to myself something a little more exciting!