Welcome to My Real Testament

Be known to those who matter to you

It was Plato who said, “Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence”; I am here to help facilitate just that, not just for me but for all of us. Writing real testaments I hope to reach out to my loyal readers so that we may complete this journey together.

 
 
  • John Moss

2. My Real Testament

Updated: Apr 24


This is it: my first attempt at writing My Real Testament. Believe it or not I've actually decided to write this before creating the standard Will and Testament that we're all familiar with. That can follow this blog post, as the most important thing is that I'm finally taking action.


This testament is clearly going to be very personal and will no doubt reveal my personality (occasionally wacky or nerdy, but that's me). I'm writing it in a style conscious that my sons may either be children or adults when they read this. Hopefully of course they're mature adults once they finally do read it! You may wonder why there is a photo of space for this blog post: it's simply to remind me how vast life is. If you do a real testament for yourself then it's good to surround yourself with things that inspire you. My cat, Mrs Copperpot, has decided to lie next to me while I write this, which is a nice comfort. The Mrs and boys are all asleep.


As a final note before I start I have to remind you that this is my very first draft. It's important to write something rather than worry about getting it as good as possible, or trying to please others. Years from now I may change it completely, but the benefit is that something does exist. Updating the original version is expected.


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My Real Testament


Dear Alexander, Thomas, Gabriel & William,


My Real Testament was written for you. A Will and Testament that covers our estate will have been done separately. Due to your age (at the time that I wrote this) I know for certain that you don't know the full me, and so it's with great pleasure that I leave these words which may hopefully fill in some of the blanks that you may have at any point through your life. Life can be very confusing at times, and also very hard, but with the right mindset you should be able to make the most of it. As you read through my words it may feel very random at times, but I only write this to bring comfort to you as well as to help you remind you how special life can be. Other posts may be added instead of or in addition to amending this testament, so don't rule anything out.


Death:- I'll cover this first, as it will help in explaining why I'm so relaxed about doing this entire project. I'm only conscious of being on this earth since my birth as John Moss, born in 1984. I don't remember anything before that. Put simply, I don't recall existing at any other time and given that one of the latest estimates for the age of the universe stands at 13.82 billion years (Planck, 2013), common sense dictates to me that not existing once again shouldn't create any real fear or panic, especially when I've no awareness of having existed for a far greater period than I have existed. My only fear, admittedly, is going before we've had plenty of good quality time together. If I can make that happen then I'll be happy. Saying that, that is simply down to...


Good Fortune:- we can do our best to control our health, safety and wellbeing, but regrettably a good quality, long life is also down to good fortune. We can't control it so that's why doing our best but also preparing for the worst is key. It's possible to feel like bad things always happen to you, or it's certain that you'll at least hear others say it, but I learnt different and I hope you will, too. For this you need...


A healthy mindset:- I used to believe that positive thinking would always get me everything that I wanted - however, that's no longer feels normal. It takes action to get what you want, not just thoughts. Okay, be positive while you're carrying out your actions, but also know that a healthy mindset comprises of deep thinking, considering all aspects of what you are doing, what impacts it could have on others, and is what you're currently doing really what you want? In my teenage years I dreamt of status, flash cars and big houses. It took a couple of decades for me to forget all about that (mostly!), and simply appreciate a good bottle of wine, game of snooker, a good book, great food, stability, my spotify premium account and spending time with family. It may sound boring to you but you should get to a point in life where you do what you really want to do, and not what you think others want you to do. Too many people are currently looking towards Hollywood for guidance: you only have to look into the ancient past or up at the stars to realise that there's a whole lot more to cherish other than fame and fortune. Around 300-500 years BC I'd say that the Greeks were more advanced than what we are now. Regardless, it's very important...


To play your part:- in 2019, when I initially wrote this, it appears to me that current generations of people are somehow being programmed to expect a lot from society in return for very little input. I've heard many people say how they should get this or that, but the truth is that many of them appear very lazy to me. You could say that they have been misguided. If being the Administrator for My Last Statement is my only job when you read this then know that when it first started I was working away from home around 8 months a year, mostly several hundred miles away. I've also worked since I was 16 and can count on 1 hand how many days I've had off sick: 3 to be precise, 1 of which was because of a hangover (I was a teenager ha). I certainly played my part contributing to society: working hard and paying taxes. It's possible to feel disjointed from what you do to make money, and it's not always possible to be happy doing it, but it's sometimes the only way. There's still nothing to stop you working towards your dreams (once you know what they are), but you're very unlikely to get there without putting in the effort. There is, however, more to life than...


Money:- in my later later years I finally realised that there was a limit to how happy money could make you. There seems to be a point where once you have earned a certain amount, as in an amount that makes you feel comfortable long-term, that earning more won't make you much happier than you are. So, this could be a point where you feed your effort into your passions. It may be that what was making you money was actually your passion, in which case feel free to do what you like. Basically, I'm just trying to say not to let money dominate your life. You have to respect it and more often than not work hard for it, but providing that you don't abuse it and are able to follow other passions then you will do well. You may have heard that "the love of money is the root of all evil", which for me is true in that I've seen some terrible things done in the interest of making money. Do everything that you can to avoid disadvantaging others for your own gain. There's far too much of that right now, and people's desire for fame & fortune are behind some of the most atrocious events on this planet. Something that I consider more valuable than money...


Kindness & Consideration:- at the time when you're reading this I trust that you're familiar with how nice it feels to do something nice for somebody else, even if that somebody is a complete stranger. It's built into us and it's one of our greatest qualities as a human being: to not only be able to give something of value, whether it be time, money or other, but to actually enjoy it. Obviously, you should never give what you don't have, and you should also make sure that you, your family and friends are all okay first. All I mean by that is that there is no point going around helping stranger after stranger if you know of a good friend in urgent need of your help. That said, pick wisely, as there are people and organisations out there who do not deserve charity. If anything, they need help in other ways. I'm mostly referring to con artists or people who are at a low point in their lives where money won't provide the answer for them. Believe me, I tried! You'll realise that some people give the impression that they can't be helped. They need specialist help. This may cause you to feel bad but you should appreciate that...


There are some things that you can't control:- You only have power over your own thoughts and actions. You can try to influence others, but don't let it cause you stress if you aren't able to. For example, when I play snooker, I don't try to win each frame, but I do try and play at my very best. This may seem a bit strange, but the concept is simple: I can control how well that I play, whether it be short-term, e.g. really concentrating, or long-term, e.g. practice. I can not control how well my competitors play, well not without cheating or manipulating (not my style). For this reason I am only focussed on how well I play. If I win it makes me happy, but if I don't win I know that if I want to win those sorts of frames I'll have to be a better player. This may seem like a silly example but the concept applies to most areas of life, e.g. you generally have no power over the 7-point-something billion people in the world. If you can appreciate that you'll create less...


Anxiety:- I once suffered from this quite a lot, but then I learnt to use it as an important tool. If you're feeling anxious it's likely to mean that your brain is telling you that something needs addressing. At that point it's important to stop, relax and have a good think about what is bothering you, and more importantly what you can do to fix it. Good friends and partners should be good at being able to listen to us and perhaps help us become free of anxiety by taking some form of action. For example, as I write I have no anxiety, though if I had to pick something I'd say that my brain is telling me that I should exercise more often, purely to remain in good health and make the most of my time here on earth. Jokingly, I may have grandchildren to look after in the future and I'll certainly need to be fit for that, judging by how demanding you lot are (haha). Moving on...


Philosophy & Religion:- I hope that this doesn't upset you, but if it does, "man up!" (ha). I am more of an atheist than anything else (though I enjoy the positive aspects of religions). I'm a strong believer in the wonderful scientists, doctors, professors and researchers in this world who are looking after us and helping us to become better as a species. Homo Sapiens, as you may know, is Latin for "wise man", but as I write I know that we still have a long way to go before I would consider us "wise". You only have to watch the news, which admittedly I don't really do at the moment (it's proving to be a nice break), to see that there are some dodgy so-called "wise" people out there. It's up to you what you believe in, though whatever it is please do question the benefits to yourself and society before you get involved. Whatever your beliefs you will be able to recognise...


Bad people:- I've encountered many twisted, unsavoury, violent and ignorant people. It's up to you how far you distance yourself from them and more importantly, it's also up to you how much you allow them to bother you. All that I mean by this is that the sooner you accept how bad some people can be and that their attack on you was unlikely to be personal, the sooner you will recover and be able to move on. You'll usually know when somebody means trouble, so I'd listen to your gut instincts, as well as your friends and family. While on the subject of trouble, I think it's important to discuss...


Taking risks:- In life there is no way to avoid risk, but you can control how much risk you take. When of age this could involve gambling, drinking and other activities, where not only will it cost money but there could be an element of risk to your health. Just be conscious of what you do and bear in mind the saying, "Everything in moderation", which is worth remembering. It can be easy to get carried away doing some things, but that's also part of what makes us human. It's important to...


Learn from your mistakes:- I'd put money on it that there isn't a single adult in this world who hasn't made a mistake. Some people accept their mistake, learn from it and move on. Others, a bit like my old self, can make a mistake and dwell on it for ages as a form of self-punishment, almost to the point that you get far too consumed by it. If that happens after a small mistake just imagine how I've been after making huge mistakes! If you ever do this, just think what you would do differently next time. I'm not encouraging you to make mistakes of course, but to learn from the ones that you do make. Where you may have hurt somebody you should genuinely be and say "Sorry!", as it helps them to heal and can prevent or limit the damage to any bond that you may have with them. There's no such thing as the perfect human being, but it's certainly good to try. When it comes to how well you do in life...


Learn to love yourself before others:- this isn't about being vain, but the opposite. Put simply, if you don't love and respect yourself then you may struggle to fully love and respect others. Realise that you are human, are not perfect, will make mistakes and that you're mostly only in control of your own thoughts and actions. Add to that that it's up to life what bad luck or good fortune you will have and you should be able to breeze through life a bit easier than what I did. On the subject of love, there is nothing stronger! Life without Love would be cruel. Everyone deserves some because...


Everybody is Equal:- men and women are both equal. In our short history we've seen the earth ruled by both sexes, which at the time resulted in one being more valued than the other. Put simply, though men and women are different, it's the differences that allow us to advance as a species. I feel that it's easy to say the wrong thing here so I'm not going to go into too much detail. With regards to different races then all I'll say is this: it's highly likely that we started off as 1 race and all that's happened as groups split up is that changes occurred to adapt to the environment. Over time the groups formed different cultures. Celebrate these differences and take part in them: I certainly have. You'll be amazed how welcome you are when you are genuinely interested and show respect. Of course, you may have heard of other theories of how we ended up on this planet, but considering that there could be between sextillion (21 zeroes) and septillion (24 zeroes) habitable planets within our universe then who knows! Even so, it wouldn't really matter!


To finish off I wish you not the life that I wish for myself (forward-thinking, stable and sensible with the odd adventure) but the life that you wish for yourself. I can only tell you what my thoughts are in life and there's probably nothing to prove that I am right in everything that I say. For that reason there may have been many many edits of this Testament before you've even read it. Nobody knows everything and every day is a day for learning something new. Not one person will have all of the answers, but you can carefully pick and choose what you believe in the most.


Over to you now.


With lots of love,


Dad


p.s. I'd recommend reading the book, Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine. It's written by somebody that I have a lot of respect for, Derren Brown. I found the read inspirational and it has resulted in further studies of philosophy and life itself. I had hoped to add other books, but I hope at least for now you find my main recommendation a useful one. If you're young when reading it I would keep it on the shelf for future reference, as there is a lot to take in.


p.s.s. A member-friend revealed this poem to me by Max Ehrmann, written in 1927 and called 'Desiderata'. I think you'll like it:


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.


Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.


Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.


Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.


Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.


Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.


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As the reader I'm not sure what you thought about My Real Testament above but your thoughts are welcome. There are several things that I wish to improve but I'm very happy that I've at least left something for them to consider. Should anything happen to me sooner rather than later then I'm relieved that they won't be faced with nothing! I wish to explore each paragraph in more depth, perhaps with more quotes, references or actual examples, but I also aim on adding memories as the years hopefully pass by, including ones from my own childhood. Life is unpredictable so I won't be taking anything for granted.


In time I hope to offer my writing skills to others who may wish to do the same. There are many plans but I'm taking one step at a time, adapting to our needs as we go.


With that in mind I'd love to hear your feedback.


Read the next blog post here: 3. Our Wills.


 
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