An Abundance of Potions

Days 13 & 14 – Crisis is a Gate

Good morning to all 224 readers. I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve either done these challenges myself or will be doing them alongside you. Here is one of the latter; my partner have started it, and this weekend, we’ll try to finish. —Jack

Today’s challenge: Fill out a medical power of attorney form.

Crisis is a gate. It allows you to broach thoughts and topics that were once walled with difficulty, once brambled with discomfort. It urges you to make explicit what was once implied. To say, I love you. I care about you. I don’t want anything to happen to you. It creates an opening, through which to step.

This weekend’s challenge involves a topic often avoided, yet in other ways unavoidable. It asks you to imagine, briefly, the otherwise unimaginable—to contemplate the possibility of death.

A medical power of attorney form, also called a "healthcare proxy" or "advance directive," allows you designate someone to be responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf. Use it as an opening into a conversation—with your partner, your family members, your close friends. With the person or people whom you would want to decide what to do, should you yourself be unable.

The language and requirements of these forms may vary depending on your locale. Many people go through an attorney, but boilerplate forms can also be found online. For U.S. residents, you can search for forms specific to your state, or use services like eForms, which necessitate signing up for a free trial—though no payment info is required up front. When you’re done filling out the form, services like NotaryCam or Notarize will allow you to legally sign and notarize the document remotely for a small fee.

If you've already filled out the form in the past, take the time now to review it. If you’ve completed the form but not related ones, like a Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney, use this opportunity. It can also be a good moment to review or start conversations about wills, estates, and trusts—particularly if you have young children.

Remember: Crisis is a gate, but a gate by itself is only an opening. You still have to step through.