I’m almost 57 years old. I didn’t think that was old, but I as write this, my mother is in palliative care on borrowed time. My mom is 75, making 57 a little older than I thought it was.
I expect to live longer than 75, but one never knows. I do know that if I get the time to say my goodbyes the way Mum has had, then I want to be sure I can only have memories and not regrets.
My mom can’t speak anymore. She can barely nod yes or no, and honestly, much of the time, I’m not sure she understands the question she is answering. But before she got to this very sad place, and before we knew she was terminal, we had some good talks about what we did in life. We talked about memories and regrets. We talked about the “undones” of life.
An “undone” is anything that drains our internal energy when we think about it. It is a signal from our inner self that tells us that this unfinished business is begging to be done. Maybe they make you feel guilt or embarrassment. Maybe they make you feel less about yourself than you should feel.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”bgG39″ via=”yes” ]An “undone” is anything that drains our internal energy when we think about it.[/ctt]
We all have lots of excuses too. We say things like:
- I’m not to blame. It’s not my fault.
- I had no control of the situation
- I’ll just give it time, and maybe it will go away
- I keep forgetting, so it can’t be a priority
- I had no choice
- I can’t
- No one told me.
- I’ll never change; it is just the way I am
- It’s not my responsibility
Think about one undone you have in your life. Something you know that you need to do but haven’t done it yet. Something that if this was your last day on earth, you would feel extreme sadness that you hadn’t done this while you were here. Regret.
It might be getting your high school diploma; my aunt went back to the local high school at 40 and took classes with 16-year-olds so she could finish her undone. She wore her cap and gown at the graduation and was older than most of the teachers. She finished her undone.
Maybe it is college or certification or an award you know you could win. Perhaps it is personal, financial, physical, or spiritual. Undones are different for all of us. I make sure that every night I tell my husband that I love him. Every time I see my children and say goodbye (even if I am going to see them tomorrow), I tell them that I love them. I will never not have said that “just in case.”
[ctt template=”3″ link=”TjDrx” via=”yes” ]Take this quick test to see what your personal “undones” are and what you need to do[/ctt]
Here is a quick test I developed for you to see where your personal undones are and what you will need to do.
Review the items below. Rate yourself using this scale:
5 = Excellent (This is done, and I will always do this!)
4 = Good Progress (Not done, but I’m well on the way to doing something about it. I’m almost doing this regularly and predictably)
3 = I’ve started (I have done more than think about it; I’ve started something, although it is small)
2 = I need help (I think about it, but I just can’t get started or stay consistent)
1 = Weak (I’m in trouble here and need lots of work)
- I have personal goals to ensure I continue to grow as a person
- I have professional goals that motivate me
- I am clear on my values and what my personal drivers are
- I have clear boundaries that I honor and respect
- I give back to my community, church, or association instead of being just a taker
- I am trustworthy. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it. My word is my brand
- I don’t avoid difficult conversations just because they are difficult. I have them anyway.
- I end relationships I know are bad for me
- I have self-esteem. I am confident.
- I have a job/career I am proud of and worthy of
- I continue to learn (in a personal or professional setting) to keep my mind growing
- I have the best reputation I could hope for. I work on my reputation
- I am financially confident that I can take care of myself if needed
- I am healthy physically
- I am healthy emotionally
60-75 – You are doing REALLY well. I suspect there aren’t many undones in your life, and that is because you have ensured you are taking responsibility for your choices. You see where you are weak, and you clearly know what to do.
45-59 You have done well, but a little time spend self-reflecting or working on consistency will help you get to the top tier.
30-44 Okay, you’ve identified your biggest weaknesses, but now you need to do something about them. Sit down and write goals. Decide which of the 15 above are the most important for you.
15-29 Pity party is not allowed. You finished the quiz, and it looks like you were pretty honest with yourself. Congratulations. Don’t look at this list as overwhelming; instead, pick two items that are most important for you. Start small and build on your successes.
Since I wrote the test, I suspected I would score well. I teach goal setting, and I know I am wired as a goal setter as goals motivate me. Many of these items are priorities for me. I’m very motivated professionally (which explains all those letters behind my name). I set goals monthly and am decent at following through with them. The test might be a little biased if I were to take it.
But as I was writing this, I realized I have a couple of undones in my life. I avoid many difficult conversations, and I let people cross my boundaries, so I don’t always honor and respect them myself. It is easier to avoid situations than it is to speak up many times. The path of least resistance has me having a few undones in my life.
My mom has financial undones, and, sadly, will never be in a position to fix that before she dies. She made many bad financial decisions in her life, and her embarrassment caused her to feel she had no control of the situation as fixing it never seemed to be her priority. We talked about that back when she could speak. I know, and she knows that this undone will be outstanding on her final day, and I’m willing to bet she spends a lot of time thinking and worrying about what financial responsibilities she has left behind.
I have no undones when it comes to my mom. I am totally at peace with everything that has happened, and we share a deep and unconditional love for one another.
My personal list of undones has now been documented. I need to prioritize the ones so that when it is my turn to say goodbye, retire, move, or just leave the party, I’ll have no undones on my list.
Have you started your list?