My father was an RAF man and so was both very punctual and had highly polished shoes at all times. The idea of piss poor performance being prevented by prior planning and preparation is a very military one and, yet, two articles I’ve read in the last few weeks made me think about the need to also have some planning conversations in our relationships.
We tend to plan for the big, positive stuff (buying a home, renting somewhere together, having children or pets, career changes) but how many of us really ever talk about the other stuff that might happen: accidents, death, changes in feelings? How many of us plan for the moment when the phone rings and everything changes?
I totally understand that these are not easy, or happy, subjects but I think it’s vital to create space in all of our relationships to talk about the possible challenges that we might face together and how we would like to face these, as individuals, as well as together.
For me, having seen my mum and dad go through his long illness and death together, I am committed to making sure that my partner(s) and friends do not completely self-sacrifice to care for me at any stage. Their needs and their health are as important as mine and I would ask, and expect, them to take the steps needed to look after themselves in the event of a challenging, long-term health event. I would do the same.
The values I live my life by (honesty, kindness and compassion) are the starting point for any, and all, of my actions, regardless of what happens. What do you hope for from others in the event of unexpected change? And how can you have a conversation about that today? Maybe you can use this article as a starting point…