9 Months: What to expect when expecting when expecting
A friend of a friend in NYC is taking a course in Zen meditation called “You have 9 months to Live: What now?”
So I thought this would be a great way to reflect on the next year of my life. Not because I have any health issues, or because it’s morose, but rather because this kind of rigorous focus is required if we want to live our best life. And I want to make sure I’m still tracking toward that. I want others to know what I expect and what’s expected during this time. I am sending this to several others to get their feedback, maybe some additional ideas and a better sense of their list, so I can help them with theirs. So here’s what I would do over the course of the last year of my life off the top of my head:
First, I would spend more time with Will in Grand Rapids. Our Sunday together a few weeks ago was a recipe for the perfect day– hanging out, watching Veep, having an interesting conversation and laughing a lot about nothing in particular. It was still pretty funny. I would replicate that but would have bought some junk food too for the day to eat before we left each other. A final treat.
I would get Will, Dan, Kay and me together for more family time. Just the four of us. I would watch them dance and play duets on the piano.
I would plan a whole day with each of them and no phone.
Dan and I would have an adventure in Detroit, probably on bikes. I would buy each of the boys a fixer-upper in the city of their choice and plan the rehab together. Not all the work ourselves, we would get Joey Troisi or someone hassle free and reliable. I would also get them each their first sailboat.
Each day would be different. I would do the same thing, planning an entire day with Wendy, Mark and Gil and Howard. Bill and Caroline, Fred and Lisa. William and John. Then all my nieces and nephews. Ro, Roby and Susan. And my aunt Helen and uncle Steve.
Next, I would hide my phone in the presence of others. I don’t want people saying “he was always on Facebook.” I would still post but late at night when no one was around, or the first thing in the morning. I would use Facebook to keep a running tab on my progress.
I would print out my entire stream of Facebook posts since I joined in 2007, along with the photos, and spend a day looking through it for memorable moments to replicate.
I would write more cards and send even more flowers. I actually send a fair amount now but would triple that. I would have cards made out of all my best photos, and write out a dozen a day.
I would visit my aunt Lucy and Uncle Vic in Lexington and take them to the St. Clair Inn. I would take Ms. B and Nadine out for a long lunch more than once. They would pick the restaurant.
I would host at least 2 dinner parties a week. The Burfords, Beckers and Trapps would not go a week without seeing me. Howard and Charlee would visit for a week. I would order a Gatsby style linen suit personally tailored to wear at the party. And a silk smoking jacket.
I would fly to St Simons and spend time with David and Audie in Savannah. Then I would fly to Baltimore to spend time with the Amiths and Smiths. Adina and I would stay up for a full night laughing and capture highlights on our iPhones.
I would spend time in Austria and England with the Herovitschs.
I would write everyday and get better at photography. I would create dozens of photo books on mixbook.com to leave behind with all my passions– family, friends, sailing, Michigan, the DYC, education and food.
I would fine a way to give a sermon in a church in Detroit. I would have all my friends invited and ask them to promote it so the church would be standing room only. We would pass the plate and raise the biggest Sunday take even if I had to make up the difference between the record amount collected and what we brought in that day.
I would find a way to give a public speech on education in Detroit, maybe at Chene Park that was attended by thousands. Howard would introduce me. Then I would have an after party on the roof of the Garden Court. And collect and redistribute donations.
I would help Kay and the boys plan a surprise party for me at the DYC with music and dancing. Then On the day of the party, Kay Will and Dan would find out the party was for them.
I would take a vacation with us and the Beckers to Mexico in the Yucatan with father Bill. Then we would all spend a week in St Simons Island together. We would hike on Jekyll Island for a day.
I would set up a University of Michigan fund for a Detroit kid who wouldn’t otherwise attend college. I would put a plan in place for them for 4 years. If I had enough money I would do it for several others. I would become a big brother to one of them for the remaining year.
I would write and publish an article on the endpapers of the Sunday Times Magazine. It would be reflective and funny enough that I would be swarmed with feedback. They would ask me to write a sequel piece.
I would get an article published in Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, Harpers, GQ, or Esquire, expecting the same response.
I would host a pep rally in Michigan stadium for every parent and person that spent money on someone going to the University of Michigan. I would have the university pay for the event by doing some kind of flashy sports event to draw a crowd. Instead of the band “taking the field,” all the parents would.
I would try to get on one episode of Britain’s Great Bakes. I would make my mom’s chocolate mayo cake and have Paul review it. I would ask Mary to check out the layers.
I would get a massage ideally 2-3x per week but at least 1x on a table in our great room with Enya in the background on my Sonos. Kay would also be around and it would be set up like the spa treatment at the Ritz in Vienna.
I would host a dinner party with Nadine, Susan, the Beckers, Burfords and their parents, and all our kids. I would have everyone submit their favorite food item for the menu and we would make it together. Kay would assist with menu and logistics planning only. I would do the cleanup solo. This would be the meal everyone remembers me for. The boys would plan a piano tribute for Kay afterward.
We would plan a period party from the Gatsby era. Hire costumed staff and music. Great food and dance awards.
I would spend more time in Hamtramck. I would eat more in Hamtramck.
I would line up a chef’s table dinner at Joe Muirs, West End Grille, Ottava Via, Selden Standard and Gold Cash Gold. I would eat and drink moderately but well with a small party of friends and family.
I would learn to recite a love poem in French and Italian.
I would go to Italy, France, Poland and Spain. I would see another Elton John concert and go backstage one more time. I would bring my picture of the last time with my friend Molly and me.
I would sail whenever possible,and line up cruises on all my friends boats at the DYC. I would have them buy food that I would then prepare and serve while underway.
I would spend time in Suttons Bay, Charlevoix. I would rent out Camp Michigania for a weekend in the offseason and fill it with my friend’s list.
I would host another Rose Bowl party with Wendy’s Queso dip and Ditka’s pot roast nachos.
I would spend a day with a Santa sack full of small treats in a nursing home hanging out with old people. I would capture them in pictures. Compile a picture book and then have it published and sold as a gift book and serve the royalties to a Detroit charity. They would each get their own copy.
I would end each day tired and the last one spent, spent smiling and laughing. Since I’m serious about working on this, I gotta go. Do you have any other suggestions for me. This is only first draft don’t hold it against me if I left something big off.
What about you?