April 12th, 2013
To me, digging through receipts and tax papers is a form of reflection. The receipts and papers are key indicators as to how I’ve focused my time, energy, and money.
Each year, I gather receipts and papers to prepare of my parents’ tax return. In prior years, this process was a no-brainer for me. For years, my parents had pretty much been living each day like they did yesterday. Last year’s receipts and papers presented a much different picture.
There were receipts for prescriptions to calm my mom, so my dad could care for her in their home for as long as possible.
There were receipts for home daycare for my mom, who suffers from dementia, so my dad could run errands, visit with his buddy, and not have to worry about leaving my mom alone or being gone too long.
There were no receipts for lawn care, home maintenance, and repairs. There was paperwork for the sale of their home of 40 years and their move to the senior community so they could focus their time and energy on what matters.
There were receipts for ambulance and hospital stays for my dad who suffered his third stroke because he did not make caring for himself a priority.
There were receipts to move my mom to a new home she shares with other folks who also suffer from dementia and the move of my dad to a 1 bedroom apartment in independent living — all on the same campus. There were receipts for blood sugar test kits, Depends, and natural foods because my dad stopped thinking that he didn’t want to die and started thinking he wanted to live — be happy and healthy, taking care of himself, doing things he loved to do, so he could take care of mom and enjoy their time together.
There were less receipts for medications for my mom who is thriving in her new home where she feels safe and loved.
There were receipts for donations to their church and many other charities because they have always given to those less fortunate.
There were receipts from the bulk food store — for almond bark which my mom loves and my dad buys as a special treat for her.
There were receipts from the Henry Ford and Bob Evans restaurant — where my dad took his grandson who came to visit from Arizona.
There were receipts for a road trip my dad and I took to visit his grandchildren who were vacationing on the west side of the state.
There were receipts for guitar strings and art supplies — because my dad started playing his guitar and painting again.
There were receipts for the sale of my dad’s car — because my dad decided to practice “safety first!” and utilize a transportation service.
There were receipts for the cable company — because he can watch the war channel and the western channel with his buddy and record movies to watch with me on movie night — our weekend tradition.
These receipts and papers — if I just looked at them as numbers — then I’d be focusing on the “doing.” When I look at the essence, I am focused on the “being.”
I can see and celebrate the intentions we set and fulfilled; the values my dad, mom, and I embody; the obstacles we faced and overcame; the sense of purpose we restored, and how we accomplished so much more than we gave ourselves credit for. I could appreciate each moment, and the flow and process of life.
It’s my intention to make every receipt count, to make every moment count.
Do your receipts reflect your intentions for your life and work? Are you focused on what you want? Are you focused on what matters?
For more on handling life transitions, click here.