Planning Ahead

It’s My Life and I’ll Die How I Want To

Written by Erik Neilson
Apr 13 2017

Making end-of-life decisions can be a difficult thing to do, especially when you’re currently young and healthy. Most people would prefer to avoid the grim reminder that they will someday pass away, yet ignoring the inevitable until it’s too late to make decisions for one’s self can come along with numerous consequences. A better solution is to take things into your own hands, and it’s never too early to get started.

Advance Health Care Directive

When it comes to ensuring that the end of your life pans out the way you want it to, an advance health care directive is the most effective route to take. Take a living will and combine it with power of attorney, and you’ve got an advance health care directive. Unlike situations in which power over end-of-life decisions is given to someone you trust to make when the time comes, an advance health care directive allows you to outline decisions ahead of time. With it, you’ll provide instructions on what to do should you not be able to do so later on in life.

You might wonder why an advance health care directive is necessary, especially if you trust your doctor or family members to make the right decisions for you. The end of one’s life can be an emotion-filled process for all parties involved, and the “right” decision may not be clear due to differing opinions. With an advance directive, you dictate what should be done so that there isn’t any question. This includes weighty decisions around organ donation, do not resuscitate (DNR) orders and many others that should only be made by the person who they apply to.

Plan a Non-Traditional Funeral

Many people experience anxiety not about passing away, but about how they’ll be remembered after they’re gone. One way to take this into your own hands is to plan your own non-traditional funeral. The options here are nearly endless, from having your remains turned into a diamond or a tree. You can dictate the type of attire that should be worn and choosing music that will be played. You can even control the guest list, if you want to get that detailed. At the very least you can ensure your funeral is celebratory instead of dismal and mundane. In fact, some people even use life insurance policies to fund a trust to send family and friends on a cool vacation instead of a dreary funeral. How cool would that be?

Explore and Prepare for the End of Life

The amount of literature devoted to exploring and helping people prepare for the end of life is nothing short of head-spinning, and it doesn’t even account for the many other types of art that serve as meditations on passing. Embracing these accounts and learning for yourself what the end of life can be like is an excellent way to reduce anxiety around the subject, and many find that their fears largely subside once they “stare into the sun,” as is often said. After all, there’s nothing doom and gloom about preparing for the inevitable.

Everyone has thought about what control they’ll have at the end of their lives at least once. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be out of your hands if you plan ahead.

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