Too Damn Grown

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Morning vigor

Last year, when I was much younger, I bounded out of bed first thing in the morning, full of cheer and energy that lasted well into the day. Mornings were then, and are now, my favorite time of day. I can move mountains, practice yoga and tai chi, can a thousand gallons of tomatoes and write a bestselling novel all before noon. Now, however, after lunch, I can sometimes garner enough will power to go for a walk or take a nap, and finish off whatever chores I’d lined up for the day. I’ll cook dinner around 5 pm and take another walk after eating. Once I’ve gotten to the post-walk point, every productive cell in my body has its own agenda. The brain might be urging the muscular system to go dancing, but this year, all systems are not go and I find the ol’ corpus defessus prefers to park the mother ship rather than trip the light fandango. Maybe it’s the heat…or I’m growing too quickly for my own good.

Life has its many stages and certain things we do signify what stage of growing up we humans have achieved. Getting a job, buying a car, having one’s own place to live are some of the signs that the grown-up status is being accomplished. An emotional yardstick also exists for maturing into a competent adult. Understanding someone else’s point of view, making friends with people of differing ages and backgrounds, knowing when to compromise and when to stand up for oneself indicate a remarkable improvement in growth. I once felt I had accomplished all this and nothing else needed doing to sustain my responsible adult achievements. Then, of course, I got married and had a child, which kept me moving through the phases of stalwart toleration and maintaining equilibrium under pressure. Sigh, I miss those good old days.

Easier when?

When I was young, growing up seemed to take forever and I wanted to hurry up getting to that exciting phase of life where I believed nobody could tell me what to do. On the other end, once I hit the roaring sixties, the growing seemed to move at an unprecedented rate. AARP now sends me articles on how to slow that growing process. If I have to keep on growing, I would prefer it to be less noticeable–at a pace the human eye cannot detect. I am working toward that goal. Daily yoga and tai chi, eating sensible meals, drinking in moderation, outings with friends are all the common methods I practice for staving off this phase of growth recrudescence. However, there are times when all the yoga in the world can’t supply me with the energy I used to possess. I tend to look back a couple decades and wonder at my seemingly unending energy supply which lasted from morning well into the darkening hours. It seems I am now at that growth spurt where remembering to brush my teeth seems like a magnificent accomplishment and there should be some sort of age-appropriate award for getting a meal on the table before I need to lie down with a good book.

As my husband and I enter our early late sixties, and this period of rapid growth spurt defies our most ardent delaying tactics, we must give consideration to the practical duties of this phase of life, namely healthcare and estate planning. Yes, we have deferred being responsible for as long as possible. Growing up has gone way past my childhood vision of driving and going out to bars. I still do those things, but not quite as often as I had anticipated when I was in the ninth grade. Who knew? These days, I cherish a quiet lunch at the tea shop over an alcohol-soaked night out on the town. One thing you learn as you grow is that your taste in entertainment will change to be in alignment with your current level of stamina.

Lady lawyer

Planning for your own incompetence and/or demise requires that last bit of fortitude you have retained for what I consider to be the final accountable adulting you might have to accomplish in this growth phase. First, we had to find a trustworthy lawyer. Asking around was our preferred method. So, we simply Googled estate lawyers in our town and picked one. Yes, this is akin to throwing a bunch of names into a hat and calling the first one we pulled out. We met with her online, judged her appearance from the shoulders up and decided she probably wasn’t wearing combat boots or jeans with big holes ripped in the legs, though she very well might have been. She spoke in a manner consistent with an attorney working in a law firm specializing in estate planning and other legal paper shuffling, so we got right to work being told what documents we needed to prove we were currently semi-competent old farts who probably should have gotten some references but didn’t.

First came the stuff to protect me should I continue to live well past a suitable amount of brain function. Four documents assure that someone will take over and make the proper decisions for the continuance of my body unless any of the check-marked situations arise, in which case they should pull the damn plug and allow me to finish growing on my own until I either surprise the hell out of my so-called medical advisors or finish growing altogether. At the cessation of all growth, I have in my possession four more documents to protect all the crap I have accumulated over the many years of successfully passing through the phases of life. Truthfully, my plan is to get rid of most of it before such event occurs so that I can have the pleasure of watching someone else enjoy the use of my stuff.

Piles of paper

My husband and I finally met our estate lawyer in person along with some of her office staff, to sign the many documents and receive our copies. The office was located in a nice part of downtown. The people were appropriately dressed. No nose rings, tattoos or ripped jeans in sight. We were offered bottled water as we settled down to business, so everything seemed legit enough for our purposes. We each walked out with a notebook housing our vast collection of personal old-growth documents. The deed was done. Only a couple more steps were required of me.

Among my collection of legal parchments was the formation of my revocable trust. This is pretty much a piece of paper that just says I have one and it is nothing more than a legal name. This means I can own something or my trust can own something. I had a hard time wrapping my head around this concept. I can put just about anything of value into my trust and it will slide on over to my heirs without the fuss of going through the probate channels. I had a grand time perusing my options. My collection of puppets, the signed copy of David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, the ukulele I made at John C. Campbell Folk School, my copyright registrations. I couldn’t figure out how to make my trust the owner of these things, so I tabled that chore until I receive further legal advice. I decided the best action to take would be to open a bank account in the name of my trust and toss all my spare change into it.

Overwhelmed banker

I went to the bank armed with my ID and a copy of my trust agreement. How long could it take to open a bank account? I was told I would need to see Joshua, who was with another customer, and to come back in an hour. An hour. Apparently, that’s how long it takes to open an account. I came back in an hour. You’d have thought I’d thrown a hand grenade into the banker’s office asking for an account in the name of my revocable trust. The man actually cringed. He conferred with a teller, he called another branch, he looked into some official-looking notebooks, until he finally confessed he did not know how to do that. Was it possible for me to come back later in the day so that he had time to learn the necessary steps? This did not exactly instill much confidence in man nor bank. I went home.

I returned two days later just to be sure Joshua had had sufficient time to graduate from banker’s school. He welcomed me into his office while studying the notes he’d taken to complete the process. It did indeed take an hour for him to sort it all out. I walked out with an account number and a promise that he had transferred the requested funds from my personal checking account into the trust account. I still felt a bit dubious about his competence in successfully completing this process. Then he gave me his business card and sent me on my way. At least I had his full name on official bank stationery in case he decides to take an extended vacation in the Caribbean or something. Competent adulting on my part is now finished.

Don't blink!

Well, almost. Once I’ve shed the biological housing, it must, by law, be disposed of via an appropriate, culturally and legally-approved method. Up until recently, I knew of only two such procedures–burial or cremation. Starting with my grandparents’ generation, a quick and cheap torching became the familial method of choice. But, cremation causes a certain amount of pollution because the pit master must wrap the body in a plastic bag, which, when burned creates toxic emissions. So, I thought about burial. Much more expensive and takes up space which otherwise might be used to further the dubious ambitions of humanity. There is another option which has only recently come to my attention. Composting.

Yep. The latest and greatest means of legal body disposal is expedited corpse decomposition (aka rotting) via “bins” specifically designed to speed up the process. Of course, the results of burial are much the same, but much, much slower. So much slower. Only 8 to 12 weeks in the special composting bins until the family can sprinkle me over the turnips and cabbages. It’s not yet legal in North Carolina, so I’m hoping to hold out until its champions win over the state regulators as well as the hole-digging, pyre-making lobbyists who will no doubt object to the new kid on the block. I thought thinking about body disposal would be dismaying, but this new method has actually brought me a modicum of glee.


Just when I think I can put it all away and continue with the more pleasurable activities inherent with the late-life growth spurt–after having superbly handled the business end of it in an obviously pre-decrepitudinal manner–I receive the bank statement for my trust account. The name of the trust is wrong. They missed a word which was clearly stated in the documents I so carefully tendered. Now I have to go back to point out to Joshua (who may be in the throes of his own growth challenges) that it will need correction. Tomorrow morning seems the best time for me. I’m too damn grown to tussle with a banker in the afternoon.

Current growth stage–still grooving,


There’s a quote this week. Go on ahead and check it out in the menu above.


  1. Thanks, Cheryl, for another stellar blog. The estate planning discussion is near and dear to my (aging and way past half its useful life) heart.

    Another option to be aware of aquamation, aka ashes without fire and less environmental damage. Closest facility now is in Shelby, 90 minutes away, as far as I (and Google) know. But I have heard one of the local funeral/cremation homes is working on setting up an aquamation facility here in town. I hope they’re done before I am.

    Thanks again

    • Thanks Maurice! I looked up aquamation and was reminded of a lobster boil, except one is already dead and won’t need to be knocking on the side of the pot. Wait! Maybe it’s more akin to brewing. Yes, that will be very popular in AVL!

  2. Fabulous!! Love this!! Did you know that some medicines make one grow?? Yep!! I’m in another growth spurt I hope to derail. But eating ice cream and/or cookiesduring trying times is hard to give up! ????

    • Medicines do have their effects! Mine cost money and do absolutely nothing! Oh well, part of the growing process. Ice cream and cookies are also my coping mechanism of choice!

  3. You have a signed copy of “The Bone Clocks”! Awesome!

    • Not any more!! I gifted it to the kid, who has taken a liking to collecting books, signed or early/first editions.

  4. A difficult subject but of course infused with your humor, nice job!

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