The After Life

‘Never stress over what you can’t control.’

‘Focus on what you can do rather than stress about what you have no control over.’

As much as I distrust the wisdom of self-help gurus and productivity coaches, I’ve decided to take their advice this week. Since I have no control whatsoever over Brexit, I will stop fretting about it until next Thursday, and focus instead on something I do have some control over; my funeral arrangements.

No, I am not knee-deep in depression, and I am not terminally ill, and yes, I plan to still be around to harass my children when they become mothers. But it’s always good to be prepared, isn’t it?

Thinking about my funeral isn’t as bizarre as you might think. To begin with, there are logistical issues to be settled. I live in the UK and chances are I’ll die here too (unless I’m deported), but I don’t want to be buried here. Until recently I was adamant that I wanted to have my ashes interred in a family grave at the outskirts of Stockholm, the city where I was born and where I grew up.

Only I’m a bit claustrophobic so on reflection I’ve decided that I’d much rather have my ashes scattered in a particular nature spot in Sweden, close to where I’ve spent my summers since I was a baby. And because you never know when the end is nigh, I thought it best to convey these wishes to my bemused husband.

Not only have I got a plan for the afterlife, but I also have a plan for my retirement. For my 30th birthday (ancient history, according to my 8-year old daughter), my mother treated me to a luxurious few days on the French Riviera where we visited Nice and its surrounding areas, combining frivolous shopping with superb food and some cultural immersion in the form of trips to the local Matisse and Chagall museums.


While dining at the legendary hotel Negresco on Promenade des Anglais in Nice, I spotted an elderly woman dressed in deep blue robes with a matching blue knitted beret covered in sequins perched atop her long, thick silver hair. I was transfixed by her appearance and thought, THAT’S who I want to be when I’m 80-years old. Naturally, I had no idea what this woman was like, but I conjured up a story of her, an eccentric lady who, when not dining out, sat at her desk in her ‘shabby chic’ apartment overlooking the Mediterranean and wrote caustic pamphlets about the ills of the world.

Once my children are grown up and moved out of the family home, I am going down to Nice, and I’m going to be THAT woman!

While I wait for that day to come, I am plotting the next stages of my life in London, which involves a motorbike (the bigger, the better) and black leather attire. Despite my family’s threat to disown me if I swap our red Toyota for a Harley Davidson bike, I keep saying there is an ageing biker chick inside me, yearning to come out.

I know I promised not to write about Brexit this week, but there might be a silver lining to Britain’s decision to leave the EU, in so far as it’s got me planning my future. And for once I’m feeling excited!



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