I have such a vivid memory of hearing those words. Even as I write this I can hear both my mother and my grandmother saying “Jonny you’re so messy” and “who is going to clean this up?” Yes, I admit I was not a neat child. I rarely picked up after myself whether it be my room with clothes strewn everywhere, toys scattered throughout the house and when I would make the trek into the kitchen to make something to eat, I’d leave behind messy dishes, pans and wrappers. This usually was followed by one of two, very predictable outcomes. The first and dare I say the vast majority of the time, was a very short window of time in which I had to make things right or suffer the dire consequences. Those could be anything from no television or being grounded and unable to go outside to play with my friends, both of which were akin to a death sentence for a youngster in the 1960’s and 1970’s! Or, the second was someone else had to clean up my mess. My story may not be too dissimilar to many of your stories.
So, as an adult I turned out to be a quasi neat freak! I can’t stand clutter or even a dirty dish left in the sink. All my clothes are neatly folded in their respective drawers or hanging in my closet. And heaven help the poor soul who leaves even an empty gum wrapper in my car! Ok, you may be thinking where the heck are you going with this Jon? We get it, you are a recovered slob and you no longer will leave a mess.
Or, will I?
If something were to happen to me and I were not here tomorrow, is everything neat and organized or will I leave a mess for someone else to deal with? I’m not referring to the state of my home. I am referring to my state of affairs. Such things as a Will, proof of ownership documentation for my property and vehicles, life insurance, bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, retirement accounts, credit cards, mortgages and other debt. You know, the things that someone will need to locate and deal with! But it doesn’t stop there. What about my digital identity? What I mean is everything I do online. This includes any auto-pay or bill-pay accounts, subscriptions such as Amazon Prime, Netflix or the newspaper which I read on my iPad every morning. These all automatically renew monthly. How will my family know what I have out there, how to locate it and more importantly, how to access and stop it?
But wait, there’s more. I have a Facebook account, a Twitter account and a LinkedIn account. I have grown weary of getting messages on social media to wish “Happy Birthday” to a friend who has been deceased for years! Will my family know how to access my social media accounts and either memorialize them or take them down? Not if I haven’t provided them with any information, such as my login credentials and what I would like them to do with those accounts!
The last thing I want is to have someone saying, “Jonny, you were so messy” after I’m gone. That is why I have taken all the steps necessary to be thoughtfully prepared for when that time comes, albeit hopefully not for a long, long time!
Leave a legacy, not a mess!