Though it would constitute a misdescription to say that our winter months of untempered leisure on Hilton Head Island are “detached”, it is nonetheless true that many of our business affairs are purposively marginalized and effectively “postponed” until our return home in the spring. Some of these tiresome details can only be dealt with within the narrow window of our return while others are simply better addressed either in person or upon terra firma. Since our arrival in Almonte mid-April our shared calendar has been conspicuous for its denotation of meetings and reminders all associated with getting our affairs in order. Certainly this prosecution has been enlarged by reason of my having to attend to many of the same exigencies for my elderly mother.
Having but months to complete these various proceedings (income tax, quarterly income tax payments, document renewals and national and international updates, insurance renewals, residential lease renewals, property maintenance, celebratory family gatherings, medical check-ups, routine medical attendances, eye examinations, dental check-ups and care, investment and financial planning, estate planning, etc.) there is a feeling that time is severely – almost threateningly – condensed. Whenever one is relying upon either the government or medical or legal offices to complete a task, there is notoriously an inherent delay which is assured to elongate the targeted process. In some instances time is unquestionably of the essence and any unforeseen delay may unexpectedly cause both stress and gross inconvenience where long-term plans are at stake. Straddling the border of two countries is not without its need for superior planning and foresight and we may therefore be excused our focused assiduity.
The evolution of the conduct of business, like the ascendency of one’s private thoughts, is a perpetual improvement and refinement. Each step is a tailoring of current needs, an adjustment, a bestowal of precision and deduction upon the proceedings. We can be assured almost every day upon awakening to encounter a world of greater clarity and enhanced administration. As in all matters of human affairs there is remarkably a never-ending sequence of concerns to be addressed. For all we might foolishly hope to the contrary, nothing is static. Yet certainly the industrious prosecution of one’s agenda ultimately affords the relief of accomplishment and nearer approach to one’s anticipated ends. Historically our record is one of critical, timely decisions and we seldom if ever look back wistfully upon what has been done.
While I have denied detachment from these undeniable visceral concerns when we are on Hilton Head Island, I am bound to confess that our summertime in Almonte is by design dedicated to them. I include within the sphere of this activity a recapitulation of what has transpired in the last year among those of our friends and acquaintances whom we by chance encounter during the season. Everything is dedicated to getting affairs in order, even those of others who only brush upon us. It is perhaps the oddity of living within the space of twelve months in two remotely separate jurisdictions which highlights the singularity and importance of each. If on the contrary one were to imagine that there is no urgency to anything, that the future will unfold largely as it always has, then there is unlikely to be any stimulation either to collect or to digest the fodder of daily affairs. The reality however is that many things transpire and change within a year. Even keeping up with the funeral services is a challenge, quite apart from the progression of children, the declension of health, the loss and change of business opportunities, and the inevitable modification of relationships, associations and commitments of almost any description. One must be in earnest to absorb all that has arisen and befallen.
It amounts to a trite comment to observe that nothing comes of naught (“nihil fit ex nihilo“). Though motivated by pedestrian necessities, the enterprise embraces matters of far greater philosophical consequence. It is after all merely an accident of routine, an unavoidable ritual. Once one is dedicated to formalities it is impossible to slip the grip of its command even when confronted by far different considerations; the habit is formed already. We have therefore effectively extrapolated the business of our affairs to matters of the heart and mind. We include in our daily rumination the heady topics of family, friendship, duty, obligation, inheritance and the salvation of one’s soul. No detail is too small or insignificant for contemplation if it tingles in our minds. We have facilitated the judicious scrutiny of almost any province by having heightened the attention to our health, whether through diet, abstinence, exercise or relaxation. We prefer to be incisive where possible. It is a matter of getting our affairs in order.