By Lynda Wallas

Stock Take

A few weeks back my Mum (who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand) said to me ‘Lynda, if anything were to happen to you in Australia we would not know where anything is in your house, where your bank accounts are, your Will, your computer passwords, or what you wanted at your funeral.’

Hmmm, ok, so she was thinking from a practical perspective… makes sense. I’m sure she didn’t particularly want to bring it up but it’s better to raise it with me and I can take action, than to find herself in a position where she wished she had raised it with me. And I certainly wouldn’t want everything to be really difficult for my family if anything did happen to me.

So a Will is on my To-do List. It’s a bit alternative though…. ‘I leave my credit card debt to….’ Lol!

It’s made me think about other things too. About getting some things down on paper (because that’s my thing…. I like paper and the written word). Then I went a step further; I saw a beautiful black box with a lid, and the words “Life is a beautiful ride” on it. I decided to collate things in the box that I would want others to find. Letters, photos, my Will, my funeral songs/readings, my poems, old memorabilia from when I lived overseas with my sister when we were in our 20s (the adventure years), things from milestone birthdays, jewellery I want others to have etc.
It’s coming together nicely, and it makes me feel a little less overwhelmed with my mid-life challenges, and a bit more organised and in control. I mean, I don’t expect to be going anywhere just yet (fingers crossed)…. but it’s a nice thing to have, and to add to…. something with meaning, something that would come into its own if anything did happen out of the blue. Even if I don’t look at it regularly or even randomly, there is peace of mind in knowing it is there, and that it will be found (and treasured).

It also just seems to fit with the other emotional stock take items I have on my to-do list for this year. And the pending decision about how to get to my ‘little piece (and peace) of paradise’ 🙂
I’m in a situation whereby I’ve lived in Australia for 15 years and need to decide if I will be retiring here or back in my homeland of New Zealand. There’s a bunch of rules around pensions, superannuation and other entitlements that mean I need to make a decision soon. It feels like everything is colliding this year. The call back home and to family (a little muddied because of how much I love Melbourne, and by the earthquakes that have changed my home town of Christchurch, and continue to rock it). The call to stop doing what I do for financial survival and instead do what I love. A call to move on from the health issues that have upset my rhythm since doing fertility treatment in my 30’s. A call to find my soul mate and finally have that chapter of my life…. that I deserve, no question!

I feel like I need to move on from flatlining in my life because of fear of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and move away from surviving week to week. It’s not that I’ve ever really thought I didn’t have a future, more that there was so much uncertainty to deal with because of the health issues that I never had a chance to get ahead of the game and actually make a plan, or even just imagine.
And when you don’t imagine, you don’t get!
In hindsight, it’s a vicious circle where the only outcome can be flatlining and, well, being stuck. I’ve had to work through the fear of getting sick again that’s stopped me from stepping back into life with any real conviction…. but even with the things I have done to help with that, it seems to me that time plays a big part too.

Now finally I feel I can focus my attention again on the bigger picture. Like I’ve had a period of treading water, and now I am swimming in a stronger current. And you know, every period in our lives can bring growth and opportunity. Without that ‘down’ time, without all that I have learnt during my period of illness, the way it made me get in touch with the simple pleasures in life, the learning I did about myself and the strengths I didn’t know I had….. well, without that I wouldn’t be equipped to swim strongly now.

It’s a new chapter for sure. A chance to turn those dreams into reality. I love the idea of this saying by C.S. Lewis;
‘Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.’

Do you have a stock take you need to do?
Is it starting to feel like it can no longer be put off?
Have you been ‘coping with things’ or ‘taking care of others’ or ‘working madly towards things you thought you wanted and now you’re not sure’…..?
Do you need to make some choices for your future? Time to have some serious discussions with yourself and figure out where too from here or what really matters.
Do you have some practical, or emotional organising to do.
Do you want to put together a little box of words, pictures, objects, and memories for those you care about, just to know it’s there?

So…… take charge and start by putting some time aside to brain storm with yourself. Don’t go backwards through recriminations about why you are where you are, or why you’ve struggled in certain areas. A stock take is more about looking at what you’ve got to work with now, from a positive and practical standpoint…. not why you’ve got what you’ve got.
Think of the skills and abilities you have, the lessons under your belt, the core beliefs and the essence of the person those lessons have crafted. Think about your highest hopes and wishes. Write lists; your favourite things, the things you would do if there were no obstacles, how you would like your day to be, what you want to achieve within the next year, what you would like to say to, or leave for, others. Make a mood board if you need to organise visually (or use PowerPoint to do this, pulling in pictures and words that convey where you are headed).

Think of it as making an inventory of what you have, as well as what you want to have. Seeing the two side by side gives perspective to the remainder of the climb (or the span of the bridge left to take you from one side to the other). For some people, it can also be useful to write a list of what they have currently in their life that they don’t want.

A period of peace and quiet is perfect for taking stock. Head out into nature; long walks are brilliant for letting the mind wander where it will, and make sense of things that have been swirling and nagging. Rent a little cottage by the sea and let the salt air wipe away the cobwebs and set you on a path. Get invigorated. Autumn, as it is here at the moment, is perfect for this…. the changing colours and light, the cold starts that become sunny days, the brisk air, the falling leaves…. wrapped up in protective woolly layers with a steamy mug of hot tea! Then winter will become my period of ‘doing’; setting more wheels in motion, moving on the decisions, taking more action. With Spring, will come some results – the move from stock take to living the changes!
You can, of course, find inspiration in any season.

And you know what? You may find that the stock take shows you that the gap is not so very large. That you only need a couple more stepping stones to walk across to the ‘other side’. That there are so many things you are grateful for, just as they are.
Sometimes the day to day pressures (or our sense of pressures) can eat up our mental energy, and leave us feeling exhausted about our shortfalls. But when we step back and take the time to process – perform a life audit – the results can be surprising.

It’s like there are two pieces to this puzzle, and you can’t get to put the second piece in its place until you’ve spent time ensuring the first piece is solid. The stock take is a practical exercise… yes it will cross over into the emotional for sure, but it is cementing by way of fact, lists, have’s, don’t haves, needs and wants. It’s about being honest, about cutting through the confusion, delusion, and/or avoidance to brutally assess your current situation.
Once you’ve got a solid view of what you have got to work with today, then you can start to form the second, magical piece of the puzzle… where you will be tomorrow.

I’ve found that it’s very important not to let current circumstances interact when you are visualising and opening up to the shape and form of ‘tomorrow’ 😊


You can find inspiration in these places too:

Use this workbook to help write your lists and understand what you have and are grateful for –

If it is financials that are sapping your mental and emotional energy, then check out this book –

Here’s a take on self-audit that looks interesting –

A properly conducted self audit is a most important element in self improvement.
‘You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.’
A self audit should include your own perceptions first, and then source the truthful and objective opinions from three other people who know you well, personally and/or professionally, ensuring that both areas are covered

Hmmm, would you be brave enough to involve others in your self-audit?!

This book discusses finding your purpose and mission in life –

If your stock take is hindered by unresolved grief and loss issues, this book may be of interest –


Best of luck to you all. Be brave. Be passionate.
We are only half way along on the ride, and the remainder can be as wonderful as we determine it/dream it!

Lynda Wallas
Lynda Wallas
About me

I’ve always been interested in health and fitness…. which turned out to be a good thing when fertility treatment in my 30s took a toll on my health, leading to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and early onset menopause. More about Lynda...

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